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The trp Operon: a repressible operon

E. coli can synthesize tryptophan using enzymes that are encoded by five structural genes located next to each other in the trp operon ( [link] ). When environmental tryptophan is low, the operon is turned on. This means that transcription is initiated, the genes are expressed, and tryptophan is synthesized. However, if tryptophan is present in the environment, the trp operon is turned off. Transcription does not occur and tryptophan is not synthesized.

When tryptophan is not present in the cell, the repressor by itself does not bind to the operator; therefore, the operon is active and tryptophan is synthesized. However, when tryptophan accumulates in the cell, two tryptophan molecules bind to the trp repressor molecule, which changes its shape, allowing it to bind to the trp operator. This binding of the active form of the trp repressor to the operator blocks RNA polymerase from transcribing the structural genes, stopping expression of the operon. Thus, the actual product of the biosynthetic pathway controlled by the operon regulates the expression of the operon.

Diagram of the trp operon. The top image shows the operon in the absence of tryptophan. The trp repressor dissociates from the operator and RNA synthesis proceeds. RNA polymerase is bound to the promoter and an arrow indicates that transcription will occur. The repressor is not bound ot anything. The bottom image shows the operon in the presence of tryprophan. When tryptophan is present, the trp repressor binds to the operator and RNA synthesis is blocked. Tryptophan is shown bound to the repressor which is bound to the operator. RNA polymerase is bound to the promoter but is blocked from moving forward by the repressor.
The five structural genes needed to synthesize tryptophan in E. coli are located next to each other in the trp operon. When tryptophan is absent, the repressor protein does not bind to the operator, and the genes are transcribed. When tryptophan is plentiful, tryptophan binds the repressor protein at the operator sequence. This physically blocks the RNA polymerase from transcribing the tryptophan biosynthesis genes.

The lac Operon: an inducible operon

The lac operon is an example of an inducible operon that is also subject to activation in the absence of glucose ( [link] ). The lac operon encodes three structural genes necessary to acquire and process the disaccharide lactose from the environment, breaking it down into the simple sugars glucose and galactose. For the lac operon to be expressed, lactose must be present. This makes sense for the cell because it would be energetically wasteful to create the enzymes to process lactose if lactose was not available.

In the absence of lactose, the lac repressor is bound to the operator region of the lac operon, physically preventing RNA polymerase from transcribing the structural genes. However, when lactose is present, the lactose inside the cell is converted to allolactose. Allolactose serves as an inducer molecule, binding to the repressor and changing its shape so that it is no longer able to bind to the operator DNA. Removal of the repressor in the presence of lactose allows RNA polymerase to move through the operator region and begin transcription of the lac structural genes.

A diagram of the lac operon. The top image shows what occurs in the absence of lactose. In the absence of lactose, the lac repressor binds the operator and transcription is blocked. The repressor is not bound to lactose but is bound to the operator. RNA polymerase is bound to the promoter but is blocked from transcription by the repressor. The bottom image shows the presence of lactose. In the presence of lactose, the lac repressor is released from the operator and transcription proceeds at a slow rate. The image shows lactose bound to the repressor which is no longer bound to the operator. RNA polymerase is bound to the promoter and an arrow indicates that transcription is occurring.
The three structural genes that are needed to degrade lactose in E. coli are located next to each other in the lac operon. When lactose is absent, the repressor protein binds to the operator, physically blocking the RNA polymerase from transcribing the lac structural genes. When lactose is available, a lactose molecule binds the repressor protein, preventing the repressor from binding to the operator sequence, and the genes are transcribed.

Questions & Answers

What are antibodies?
Happy Reply
they are immune cells that are released by immune system to fight strangers like microbes
Ahmed
a blood protien produce in response to an counteracting a specific antigen
Pooja
Why salmonella typhi is harmful protozoan?
Saily Reply
because make typhoid that is considered as a food born illness
Ahmed
Name any five modes of transmission.
Happy
what are the scientific names and common names of some microbes
Rich Reply
Staphylococcus aureus - staph Streptococcus pyogenes - strep Botulism - Clostridium botulinum Rocky Mountain spotted fever - Rickettsia rickettsii Diphtheria - Corynebacterium diphtheriae Gonorrhea - Neisseria gonorrhoeae
Tammy
what are the limitations of the Koch's postulate
Naa
how a microorganism growth.
Zubair Reply
Is foetus a parasite to his or her mother? if yes and if no ho
Mashauri Reply
y
Yusri
yes
Yashkin
yes
Zubair
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Beatrice
yes
Redwan
no
Elasha
definition of a parasite: an organism that lives in or on an organism of ANOTHER species (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other's expense
Elasha
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aliyu
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Naa
what is biosensor in microbiology
Raja Reply
What are biosensor
Raja
what's are biosensor
Raja
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Rinku Reply
microbiology is the study of small or manuit organisms which cannot be seen with our nacked eyes unless with the aid of the microscope
Brandina
is the study of living organisms which are not directly visible to a direct eye but can only be seen under a microscope
Ipa
ok
Ipa
microbiology is the study of living organisms of microscopic size it is also the study of micro organisms with their form structure reproduction psychology metabolism and classification
Priyanka
what are the importances of Microbiology?
Erick Reply
don't know
SINGLE
we obtained the insulin from the bacteria. and some microorganisms are decomposer in ecosystems.
Zubair
nitrogen in the air is fixed into the soil by microbes example is nitrobactor
Matilda
yes
Zubair
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Zubair Reply
with examples differentiate gram positive from gram negative bacteria
Mary Reply
Differentiate gram positive from gram negative
Mary
I have no idea
Zubair
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Kuonain
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Pooja
gram positive stain purple when subjected to gram stain whilst gram positive bacterial has thick wall composed of peptidoglycan
Matilda
ok
Zubair
what is a process of gene expression in eukaryotes ?
Nayyab Reply
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Abdussalam
spontaneous generation means
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Siddhi
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eman
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eman
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Siddhi
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yaya
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Manka
structure of bacterial
Kuyiba
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suhail
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esike
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DIPTI
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esike
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Lizzy
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the genetic makeup of an individual
Matilda
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timothy
ENTEROBIUS VERMICULARIS and STROGYLOIDES STERCORALIS have the same common name which is pin worm and thread worm
Chinedu
I didn't find the common names for TRICHOMONAS VAGINALIS, GIARDIA LAMBLIA, ENTAMOEBA HISTOLYTICA, TRYPANOSOMA BRUCEI GAMBIENSE
Chinedu
NECATOR AMERICANUS - New world hookworm ASCARIS LUMBRICOIDES- Ascarid TRICHURIS TRICHIURA- Whip worm
Chinedu
Hi guys
Chinedu
Why are myeloblasts not present in the bloodstream?
Chinedu
thank u
Dasaah
is blood from capillary puncture suitable for hormonal assays
NANCY Reply
Direct this question to a hematologist for a better answer please.
LAFIA
In most cases the blood is necessary but it's limited from my own Analysis
Lee
u can do but it depends on your sampling blood its enev or not
Ali
Control indications of cipro, doxicyclin, setracyclin, cloxacyclin, erythromycin
Oslen Reply
oo
babinthe
what is sims position
babinthe Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
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