Binding of the Escherichia coli CRP protein to DNA fragments carrying nucleotide sequences closely corresponding to the consensus is very tight with a dissociation time of over 2 h in our conditions. The concentration of cyclic AMP required for this binding is below the physiological range of intracellular cyclic AMP concentrations. Changes in nucleotide sequence at positions that are not well-conserved between different naturally-occurring CRP sites allow a more rapid dissociation of CRP-DNA complexes. There is an inverse correlation between the stability of CRP binding to sites in vitro and the repression by glucose of expression dependent on these sites in vivo: expression that is dependent on the tighter binding sites cannot be repressed by the inclusion of glucose in the growth medium.

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