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Limmer, Katja; Pippig, Diana A.; Aschenbrenner, Daniela and Gaub, Hermann E. (2014): A Force-Based, Parallel Assay for the Quantification of Protein-DNA Interactions.
In: PLOS ONE 9(2), e89626 [PDF, 1MB]

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Analysis of transcription factor binding to DNA sequences is of utmost importance to understand the intricate regulatory mechanisms that underlie gene expression. Several techniques exist that quantify DNA-protein affinity, but they are either very time-consuming or suffer from possible misinterpretation due to complicated algorithms or approximations like many high-throughput techniques. We present a more direct method to quantify DNA-protein interaction in a force-based assay. In contrast to single-molecule force spectroscopy, our technique, the Molecular Force Assay (MFA),parallelizes force measurements so that it can test one or multiple proteins against several DNA sequences in a single experiment. The interaction strength is quantified by comparison to the well-defined rupture stability of different DNA duplexes. As a proof-of-principle, we measured the interaction of the zinc finger construct Zif268/NRE against six different DNA constructs. We could show the specificity of our approach and quantify the strength of the protein-DNA interaction.

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