Thermodynamic evaluation of binding interactions in the methionine repressor system of Escherichia coli using isothermal titration calorimetry.
The binding interactions of the methionine repressor protein, MetJ, from Escherichia coli with its cognate, metbox DNA sequence and corepressor S-adenosylmethionine were examined using calorimetric methods. A detailed thermodynamic characterization of this system which exhibits the recently reported (beta alpha alpha)2 binding motif provides values for delta G, delta H, and delta S for each step in the repressor binding cycle. These studies show that, in the presence of corepressor, MetJ binds to a single metbox operator site with delta G = -7.7 kcal.mol-1, whereas in the absence of corepressor, the free energy of interaction with a single site is -5.8 kcal.mol-1. Cooperative interactions between two repressor molecules bound to two adjacent sites contribute an additional free energy of -1.3 kcal.mol-1 to binding at the second site. Binding is enthalpically unfavorable in the absence of the corepressor with delta H = +2.6 kcal.mol-1 but becomes exothermic with delta H = -4.6 kcal.mol-1 when corepressor is present. The heat capacity for the system decreases significantly by delta Cp = -290 cal.mol-1.K-1 on a per site basis when the protein binds to DNA, and interactions between repressor molecules bound to adjacent sites contribute a delta Cp = -800 cal.mol-1.K-1, indicating that solvent exclusion plays a significant role in binding in this system. The corepressor binds to the unbound repressor protein with a free energy of delta G = -6.0 kcal.mol-1 and to the MetJ-operator complex with delta G = -6.95 kcal.mol-1. Repressor binding to random-sequence DNA was estimated to occur with a free energy of -5.7 kcal.mol-1 in the presence of corepressor. These data clearly indicate that MetJ repressor dimer binds specifically to the central region of its 8 bp cognate metbox operator but recognizes partial operator sequences as short as 6 bp. Cooperativity in binding of adjacent MetJ dimers to a double metbox sequence is demonstrated to be important in determining the energetics of the interaction. Finally, the corepressor S-adenosylmethionine enhances the affinity of MetJ for its recognition site DNA by a factor of 25 and contributes significantly to the net exothermicity of repressor binding.
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