Author(s): McCauley MJ, Williams MC, McCauley MJ, Williams MC, McCauley MJ, Williams MC
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Abstract Optical tweezers are ideally suited to perform force microscopy experiments that isolate a single biomolecule, which then provides multiple binding sites for ligands. The captured complex may be subjected to a spectrum of forces, inhibiting or facilitating ligand activity. In the following experiments, we utilize optical tweezers to characterize and quantify DNA binding of various ligands. High mobility group type B (HMGB) proteins, which bind to double-stranded DNA, are shown to serve the dual purpose of stabilizing and enhancing the flexibility of double stranded DNA. Unusual intercalating ligands are observed to thread into and lengthen the double-stranded structure. Proteins binding to both double- and single-stranded DNA, such as the alpha polymerase subunit of E. coli Pol III, are characterized, and the subdomains containing the distinct sites responsible for binding are isolated. Finally, DNA binding of bacteriophage T4 and T7 single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding proteins is measured for a range of salt concentrations, illustrating a binding model for proteins that slide along double-stranded DNA, ultimately binding tightly to ssDNA. These recently developed methods quantify both the binding activity of the ligand as well as the mode of binding. 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
This article was published in Biopolymers
and referenced in Journal of Physical Chemistry & Biophysics