Biolayer interferometry for DNA-protein interactions

John K. Barrows, Kennesaw State University
Michael W. Van Dyke, Kennesaw State University


Biolayer interferometry (BLI) is a widely utilized technique for determining macromolecular interaction dynamics in real time. Using changes in the interference pattern of white light reflected off a biosensor tip, BLI can determine binding parameters for protein-protein (e.g., antibody-substrate kinetics) or protein-small molecule (e.g., drug discovery) interactions. However, a less-appreciated application for BLI analysis is DNA-protein interactions. DNAbinding proteins play an immense role in cellular biology, controlling critical processes including transcription, DNA replication, and DNA repair. Understanding how proteins interact with DNA often provides important insight into their biological function, and novel technologies to assay DNA-protein interactions are of broad interest. Currently, a detailed protocol utilizing BLI for DNA-protein interactions is lacking. In the following protocol, we describe the use of BLI and biotinylated-DNA probes to determine the binding kinetics of a transcription factor to a specific DNA sequence. The experimental steps include the generation of biotinylated-DNA probes, the execution of the BLI experiment, and data analysis by scientific graphing and statistical software (e.g., GraphPad Prism). Although the example experiment used throughout this protocol involves a prokaryotic transcription factor, this technique can be easily translated to any DNA-binding protein. Pitfalls and potential solutions for investigating DNA-binding proteins by BLI are also presented.