• Escherichia coli ;
  • melibiose operon regulatory region;
  • promoters;
  • DNA sites for MelR;
  • repression;
  • loop formation


The Escherichia coli melR gene encodes the MelR transcription factor that controls melibiose utilization. Expression of melR is autoregulated by MelR, which represses the melR promoter by binding to a target that overlaps the transcript start. Here, we show that MelR-dependent repression of the melR promoter can be enhanced by the presence of a second single DNA site for MelR located up to 250 base pairs upstream. Parallels with AraC-dependent repression at the araC–araBAD regulatory region and the possibility of the MelR-dependent repression loop formation are discussed. The results show that MelR bound at two distal loci can cooperate together in transcriptional repression.