DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Gene activator protein. Computer artwork of catabolite gene activator protein (CAP, bottom) bound to a molecule of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA, green and orange). The alpha-helical (cylinders) and beta-sheet (ribbons) structure of CAP is shown. CAP activates genes that enable bacteria to use an alternative energy source when glucose, the preferred energy source, is unavailable. Falling levels of glucose cause an increase in the messenger molecule cAMP, which binds to CAP enabling CAP to bind to DNA. CAP molecule. CAP binds to DNA at specific sites, causing it to bend. This enhances the ability of the enzyme RNA polymerase to make mRNA copies of the targeted gene.
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