The catabolite gene activator protein (CAP) is a transcription factor found in Escherichia coli. It was originally identified as a gene where disruptions suppressed the expression of the lactose (lac) operon, but it was rapidly realized that it had a role at a large number of other promoters. The story of the discovery of CAP is fascinating and has been told many times (e.g., by Pastan and Adhya,1 Ullmann and Danchin2). In the mid-sixties it had been shown that glucose repression of lac expression could be countered by the inclusion of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in the growth media. In the late sixties, mutants at two unlinked loci that suppressed lac expression were identified: the effects of the mutants at just one of the loci (at map position 85 minutes) could be suppressed by added cAMP. The simplest explanation was that the 85 minute mutations identified the gene encoding adenyl cyclase (cya), while the other locus, at 73 minutes, mapped a cAMP receptor. This triggered a rush to purify this receptor, and by the early seventies, simple in vitro systems could be used to show cAMP-depen-dent lac transcription. The rush also led to some confusion in nomenclature with the receptor being variously known as CRP (cyclic AMP receptor protein), CAP or CGA (catabolite gene activator protein).


Escherichia Coli cAMP Level Catabolite Repression Target Promoter Uridine Phosphorylase 
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Copyright information

© R.G. Landes Company 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Busby
  • Annie Kolb

There are no affiliations available

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