Kenneth K Wu


Binding of nuclear transactivators to sequence-specific regulatory elements on the promoter regions is of fundamental importance in gene expression and regulation. DNA-bound transactivators recruit transcription coactivators or repressors and an array of associated proteins that interact with the basal transcription factors, thereby activating the transcription machinery. Analysis of the large complex of proteins that bind to DNA is an important step in elucidating the mechanisms by which gene expressions are regulated. Commonly used techniques to determine DNA-protein binding such as the electro-phoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) have limited value for analyzing simultaneously a large number of proteins in the complex. We describe here a streptavidin-agarose pulldown assay that is capable of analyzing quantitatively binding of an array of proteins to DNA probes. The assay is easy to perform and does not require radiolabeled probes. It involves incubation of nuclear extract proteins with 5'biotinylated double-stranded DNA probes and streptavidin-agarose beads. The complex is pulled down, and proteins in the complex are dissociated and analyzed by Western blotting. This method has been shown to be useful in determining the regulation of binding of transactivators, p300/CBP, and associated proteins to the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) promoter.

Key Words: Protein-DNA binding; electrophoretic mobility shift assay; transcription factors; streptavidin-agarose; biotinylated oligonucleotide; cyclooxygenase-2; promoter activity.

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