Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 64, Issue 1, pp 3–16

The lactose repressor system: paradigms for regulation, allosteric behavior and protein folding

  • C. J. Wilson
  • H. Zhan
  • L. Swint-Kruse
  • K. S. Matthews
Review

Abstract.

In 1961, Jacob and Monod proposed the operon model for gene regulation based on metabolism of lactose in Escherichia coli [1]. This proposal was followed by an explication of allosteric behavior by Monod and colleagues [2]. The operon model rationally depicted how genetic mechanisms can control metabolic events in response to environmental stimuli via coordinated transcription of a set of genes with related function (e.g. metabolism of lactose). The allosteric response found in the lactose repressor and many other proteins has been extended to a variety of cellular signaling pathways in all organisms. These two models have shaped our view of modern molecular biology and captivated the attention of a surprisingly broad range of scientists. More recently, the lactose repressor monomer was used as a model system for experimental and theoretical explorations of protein folding mechanisms. Thus, the lac system continues to advance our molecular understanding of genetic control and the relationship between sequence, structure and function.

Keywords.

Lactose repressor allostery genetic regulation transcription regulation inducer operator 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Wilson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • H. Zhan
    • 1
    • 4
  • L. Swint-Kruse
    • 4
  • K. S. Matthews
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Cell BiologyRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Keck Center for Interdisciplinary Bioscience TrainingRice UniversityHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Division of BiologyCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, MS 3030The University of Kansas Medical CenterKansas CityUSA

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