10. In the medium where E. coli was growing, lactose was added, which induced the lac operon. Then, why does lac operon shut down sometime after addition of lactose in the medium?
Lac operon refers to a segment of DNA which consists of one regulatory gene (i ) and three structural genes (y,z and a). Among the three structural genes, the z gene code for enzyme beta-galactosidase, that is responsible for the hydrolysis of the disaccharide lactose into its monomeric units, galactose and glucose. Gene y code for enzyme permease, which increases the permeability of the cell. The gene a encode for enzyme transacetylase. Lactose which is called the inducer is the substrate for enzyme beta-galactosidase and it regulates switching on and off of the operon. The regulatory gene, i code for the repressor of the lac operon. Lactose can bind to the repressor an inactivate it. When lactose is bound to the repressor, the RNA polymerase binds to the promoter of the lac operon. As a result of this, the transcription of three structural genes takes place and they form their respective enzymes. Further, these enzymes metabolize the lactose and lead to the formation of glucose and galactose. When the lactose metabolism is at its highest, the repressor protein is set free to bind with the operator gene. As a result of this, the transcription of lac operon stops. Therefore, lac operon shut down sometime after addition of lactose in the medium.