Development of a single-molecule tracking assay for the lac repressor in Escherichia coli
Sammanfattning: Gene regulation by transcription factors are one of the key processes that are important to sustain all kinds of life. In the prokaryote Escherichia coli this has shown to especially crucial. The operator sequence to which these transcription factors bind to are very small in comparison to the whole genome of E. coli, thus the question becomes how these proteins can find these sequences quickly. One particularly well-studied transcription factor in this regard is the lac repressor. It has been shown that this transcription factors finds its operators faster than the limit of three dimensional diffusion. The leading model for how the repressor does that is facilitated diffusion and this model has gained more experimental evidence, particularly using single-molecule fluorescence microscopy. This study aimed at measuring the unspecific binding time between the lac repressor and DNA in vivo, but in the end the project evolved to trying to establish a single-molecule tracking assay of the repressor in vivo. In this study a mutant of the repressor was expressed and purified, labelled with a synthetic fluorophore, electroporated into E. coli and tracking was performed under a microscope. One of the three types of experiments were partially analysed with an image analysis software. Unfortunately, analysis was not completed for all experiments which made it difficult to compare the results. In the end the data was compared by eye while also using the results from image analysis. With slight optimism it can be concluded that the assay worked, but it needs more development.
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