Get access

Dancing on DNA: Kinetic Aspects of Search Processes on DNA

Authors

  • Dr. Anahita Tafvizi,

    1. Dept. of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (USA)
    2. Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA (USA)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Dr. Leonid A. Mirny,

    1. Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA (USA)
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Prof. Dr. Antoine M. van Oijen

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (USA)
    2. Current address: Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, Groningen (The Netherlands), Fax: (+31) 50-363-9199
    • Dept. of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (USA)
    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

Recognition and binding of specific sites on DNA by proteins is central for many cellular functions such as transcription, replication, and recombination. In the search for its target site, the DNA-associated protein is facing both thermodynamic and kinetic difficulties. The thermodynamic challenge lies in recognizing and tightly binding a cognate (specific) site among the billions of other (non-specific) sequences on the DNA. The kinetic difficulty lies in finding a cognate site in mere seconds amidst the crowded cellular environment that is filled with other DNA sequences and proteins. Herein, we discuss the history of the DNA search problem, the theoretical background and the various experimental methods used to study the kinetics of proteins searching for target sites on DNA.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary