Catabolite activator protein: DNA binding and transcription activation

Catherine L. Lawson, David Swigon, Katsuhiko S. Murakami, Seth A. Darst, Helen M. Berman, Richard H. Ebright

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

249 Scopus citations


Recently determined structures of the Escherichia coli catabolite activator protein (CAP) in complex with DNA, and in complex with the RNA polymerase α subunit C-terminal domain (αCTD) and DNA, have yielded insights into how CAP binds DNA and activates transcription. Comparison of multiple structures of CAP-DNA complexes has revealed the contributions of direct and indirect readout to DNA binding by CAP. The structure of the CAP-αCTD-DNA complex has provided the first structural description of interactions between a transcription activator and its functional target within the general transcription machinery. Using the structure of the CAP-αCTD-DNA complex, the structure of an RNA polymerase-DNA complex, and restraints from biophysical, biochemical and genetic experiments, it has been possible to construct detailed three-dimensional models of intact class I and class II transcription activation complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-20
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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