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.
If you can't find a tool you're looking for, please click the link at the top of the page to "Go to old article view". Alternatively, view our Knowledge Base articles for additional help. Your feedback is important to us, so please let us know if you have comments or ideas for improvement.