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The lac Operon in E. coli
Concept 2: The Lactose Operon
   Review (2 pages)
Concept 3: The lac Operator
Concept 3: The lac Operator
The operator is a short region of DNA that lies partially within the promoter and that interacts with a regulatory protein that controls the transcription of the operon.
Here's an analogy. A promoter is like a doorknob, in that the promoters of many operons are similar. An operator is like the keyhole in a doorknob, in that each door is locked by only a specific key, which in this analogy is a specific regulatory protein.