DNA curving and bending in protein-DNA recognition

Mol Microbiol. 1992 Sep;6(18):2549-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1992.tb01431.x.


Most biological events are regulated at the molecular level by site-specific associations between specialized proteins and DNA. These associations may bring distal regions of the genome into functional contact or may lead to the formation of large multisubunit complexes capable of regulating highly site-specific transactional events. It is now believed that sequence-specific protein-DNA recognition and the ability of certain proteins to compete for multiple binding sites is regulated at several levels by the local structure and conformation of the binding partners. These encompass the microstructure of DNA, including its curvature, bending and flexing as well as conformational lability in the DNA-binding domains of the proteins. Possible mechanisms for binding specificity are discussed in the context of specific nucleoprotein systems with particular emphasis given to the roles of DNA conformations in these interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cyclic AMP Receptor Protein / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factor TFIIIA
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins
  • Zinc Fingers


  • Cyclic AMP Receptor Protein
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factor TFIIIA
  • Transcription Factors
  • Viral Proteins
  • Viral Regulatory and Accessory Proteins
  • phage repressor proteins
  • DNA