UV-laser crosslinking of proteins to DNA

Tom Moss, Stefan I. Dimitrov, Daniel Houde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


Photochemical crosslinking is now a powerful method for studying protein-nucleic acid interactions. UV light is a zero-length crosslinking agent that predominantly or exclusively crosslinks proteins to nucleic acids at their contact points. It can therefore provide strong evidence for close protein-nucleic acid interactions. However, to achieve an acceptable degree of crosslinking with conventional UV light sources, exposure times ranging from minutes to several hours are necessary. Such prolonged irradiation allows for the artifactual redistribution of proteins and precludes kinetic studies. The use of UV lasers overcomes these difficulties since the number of photons required for the crosslinking may be delivered in time intervals on the order of nano- or even picoseconds. We described detailed procedures for UV laser-induced protein-DNA crosslinking both in vivo and in vitro. Technical aspects, including the choice of UV laser for irradiation, the isolation of covalently crosslinked protein-DNA complexes, immunochemical techniques for both the identification and isolation of specific protein-DNA complexes and the identification of the crosslinked DNA sequences, are reviewed in detail. The application of UV laser crosslinking in kinetic studies is illustrated by the example of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) interaction with the adenovirus E4 promoter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-234
Number of pages10
JournalMethods: A Companion to Methods in Enzymology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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