Using Restriction Endonuclease, Protection, Selection, and Amplification to Identify Preferred DNA-Binding Sequences of Microbial Transcription Factors


Chemistry and Biochemistry

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Regulation of gene expression is a vital component of cellular biology. Transcription factor proteins often bind regulatory DNA sequences upstream of transcription start sites to facilitate the activation or repression of RNA polymerase. Research laboratories have devoted many projects to understanding the transcription regulatory networks for transcription factors, as these regulated genes provide critical insight into the biology of the host organism. Various in vivo and in vitro assays have been developed to elucidate transcription regulatory networks. Several assays, including SELEX-seq and ChIP-seq, capture DNA-bound transcription factors to determine the preferred DNA-binding sequences, which can then be mapped to the host organism’s genome to identify candidate regulatory genes. In this protocol, we describe an alternative in vitro, iterative selection approach to ascertaining DNA-binding sequences of a transcription factor of interest using restriction endonuclease, protection, selection, and amplification (REPSA). Contrary to traditional antibody-based capture methods, REPSA selects for transcription factor-bound DNA sequences by challenging binding reactions with a type IIS restriction endonuclease. Cleavage-resistant DNA species are amplified by PCR and then used as inputs for the next round of REPSA. This process is repeated until a protected DNA species is observed by gel electrophoresis, which is an indication of a successful REPSA experiment. Subsequent high-throughput sequencing of REPSA-selected DNAs accompanied by motif discovery and scanning analyses can be used for determining transcription factor consensus binding sequences and potential regulated genes, providing critical first steps in determining organisms’ transcription regulatory networks.

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Microbiology Spectrum

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