Expression of catabolite-sensitive operons in Escherichia coli is cAMP-dependent and mediated through the CRP:cAMP complex binding to specific sequences in DNA. Five specific ionic or polar interactions occur in cAMP binding pocket of CRP. E72 interacts with the cAMP 2' OH, R82 and S83 interact with the negatively charged phosphate moiety, and T127 and S128 interact with the adenine ring. There is evidence to suggest that E72 and R82 may mediate an essential CRP molecular switch mechanism, Therefore, stimulation of CRP transcription activation was examined by perturbing these residues. Further, CRP:cAMP complex was treated with a specific DNA sequence containing the lac CRP binding site along with RNA polymerase to mimic in vivo conditions. Biochemical and biophysical results revealed that regulation of transcription activation depends on alignment of CRP tertiary structure through inter-domain communication and it was concluded that positions 72 and 82 are essential in the activation of CRP by cAMP. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.