The solution structures of the trp repressor-operator DNA complex

Hong Zhang, Daqing Zhao, Matthew Revington, Weontae Lee, Xin Jia, Cheryl Arrowsmith, Oleg Jardetzky

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The solution structures of the complex between Escherichia coli trp holorepressor and a 20 base-pair consensus operator DNA were determined. The majority of proton chemical shifts of the trp holorepressor and operator DNA were assigned from homonuclear 2D NOESY spectra of selectively deuterated analog-operator DNA complexes and the 3D NOESY-HMQC spectrum of a uniformly 15N-labeled repressor-operator DNA complex. The structures were calculated using restrained molecular dynamics and sequential simulated annealing with 4086 NOE and other experimental constraints. The root-mean-squared deviation (RMSD) among the calculated structures and their mean is 0·9(± 0·3) Å for the repressor backbone, 1·1(± 0·5) Å for the DNA backbone, and 1·3(± 0·3) Å for all heavy atoms. The DNA is deformed to a significant extent from the standard B DNA structure to fit the helix-turn-helix (HTH) segment of the repressor (helices D and E) into its major grooves. Little change is found in the ABCF core of the repressor on complexation in comparison to the free repressor, but changes in the cofactor L-tryptophan binding pocket and the HTH segment are observed. The N-terminal residues (2 to 17) are found to be disordered and do not form stable interactions with DNA. Direct H-bonding to the bases of the operator DNA is consistent with all of our observed NOE constraints. Hydrogen bonds from NH(η1) and NH(η2) of Arg69 to O-6 and N-7 of G2 are compatible with the solution structure, as they are with the crystal structure. Other direct H-bonds from Lys72, Ala80, Ile79, Thr83 and Arg84 to base-pair functional groups can also be formed in our solution structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-614
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994 May 12

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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