Integrated microfluidic approach for quantitative high-throughput measurements of transcription factor binding affinities Academic Article uri icon


  • Protein binding to DNA is a fundamental process in gene regulation. Methodologies such as ChIP-Seq and mapping of DNase I hypersensitive sites provide global information on this regulation in vivo. In vitro methodologies provide valuable complementary information on protein–DNA specificities. However, current methods still do not measure absolute binding affinities. There is a real need for large-scale quantitative protein–DNA affinity measurements. We developed QPID, a microfluidic application for measuring protein–DNA affinities. A single run is equivalent to 4096 gel-shift experiments. Using QPID, we characterized the different affinities of ATF1, c-Jun, c-Fos and AP-1 to the CRE consensus motif and CRE half-site in two different genomic sequences on a single device. We discovered that binding of ATF1, but not of AP-1, to the CRE half-site is highly affected by its genomic context. This effect was highly correlated with ATF1 ChIP-seq and PBM experiments. Next, we characterized the affinities of ATF1 and ATF3 to 128 genomic CRE and CRE half-site sequences. Our affinity measurements explained that in vivo binding differences between ATF1 and ATF3 to CRE and CRE half-sites are partially mediated by differences in the minor groove width. We believe that QPID would become a central tool for quantitative characterization of biophysical aspects affecting protein–DNA binding.

publication date

  • January 1, 2015