DNA-protein interactions are fundamental to many biological processes, including the regulation of gene expression. Determining the binding affinities of transcription factors (TFs) to different DNA sequences allows the quantitative modeling of transcriptional regulatory networks and has been a significant technical challenge in molecular biology for many years. A recent paper by Maerkl and Quake(1) demonstrated the use of microfluidic technology for the analysis of DNA-protein interactions. An array of short DNA sequences was spotted onto a glass slide, which was then covered with a microfluidic device allowing each spot to be within a chamber into which the flow of materials was controlled by valves. By trapping the DNA-protein complexes on the surface and measuring their concentrations microscopically, they could determine the binding affinity to a large number of DNA sequences that were varied systematically. They studied four TFs from the basic helix-loop-helix family of proteins, all of which bind to E-box sites with the consensus CAnnTG (where "n" can be any base), and showed that variations in affinity for different sites allows each TF to regulate different genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)717-721
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2007


Dive into the research topics of 'Putting numbers on the network connections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this