Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20375284
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2010 Apr;107(17):7751-6
Protein recognition of DNA sites is a primary event for gene function. Its ultimate mechanistic understanding requires an integrated structural, dynamic, kinetic, and thermodynamic dissection that is currently limited considering the hundreds of structures of protein-DNA complexes available. We describe a protein-DNA-binding pathway in which an initial, diffuse, transition state ensemble with some nonnative contacts is followed by formation of extensive nonnative interactions that drive the system into a kinetic trap. Finally, nonnative contacts are slowly rearranged into native-like interactions with the DNA backbone. Dissimilar protein-DNA interfaces that populate along the DNA-binding route are explained by a temporary degeneracy of protein-DNA interactions, centered on “dual-role” residues. The nonnative species slow down the reaction allowing for extended functionality.