A considerable amount of lactose



A considerable amount of lactose is added to the growth medium of E. coli. How is the lac operon switched on in the bacteria? Mention the state of the operon when lactose is digested


In lac operon, when lactose is added, it enters the cell wall with the help of permease, a small amount of which is already present in cell. Lactose binding to activates repressor and changes its structure. The repressor now fails to bind to the operator. Then, RNA polymerase starts transcription of operon by binding to promoter site-P. All the three enzymes for lactose metabolism are synthesised.

Finally, all the lactose molecules are used up. After sometime, when whole of lactose is consumed, there is no inducer present to bind to the repressor. Then the repressor becomes active again, attaches itself to the operator and finally switches off the operon.