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Chapter 45 : RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors

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Abstract:

Gene expression in bacteria is regulated primarily at the level of transcription. Transcription and its regulation have been studied extensively in several gram-negative bacteria, especially , but mostly neglected in gram-positive bacteria. The major exception is , which because of its amenability to genetic analysis has served as a paradigm for understanding transcription in gram-positive bacteria. This chapter attempts to provide an overview of the roles of the major families of proteins required for transcription and its regulation in . Emphasis is placed on comparing the roles of these factors in and gram-negative bacteria. The product from , associates with RNA polymerase after initiation of transcription and remains associated with the elongation complex. The sigma subunit of RNA polymerase determines the specificity of promoter utilization. There are at least 10 different sigma factors in , each of which directs RNA polymerase to a different set of promoters. Two regions in most sigma factors in bacteria probably determine the specificity of promoter utilization by making sequence-specific contacts at two regions of promoters located approximately 10 and 35 bp upstream from the start point of transcription. Examples of the use of altered specificity mutations in sigma factors to determine the role of these factors during sporulation are also described.

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45

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Figures

Image of Figure 1
Figure 1

Model of interactions of with a consensus promoter. Nucleotide sequences are the canonical hexameric sequences found at the −10 and −35 regions of consensus -dependent promoters. Above the promoter sequences are the amino acid sequences (one-letter code) in that may interact with the −35 and −10 regions of promoters. Used with permission from the publisher ( ).

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

The -10 recognition regions of sigma factors. Amino acid sequences are those of the regions in sigma factors that may interact with the −10 regions of promoters. Sigma factors are from except for two from ( and ). Circles indicate positions at which amino acid substitutions specifically suppress the effects of mutations in the −10 regions of promoters, ( ), ( ), ( ), and ( ). Conserved regions are shaded. Used with permission of the publisher ( ).

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45
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Image of Figure 3
Figure 3

The −35 recognition regions of sigma factors. Amino acid sequences are those of the regions in sigma factors that may interact with the -35 regions of promoters. Sigma factors are from except for two from ( and ). Circles indicate positions at which amino acid substitutions specifically suppress the effects of mutations in the −35 regions of promoters, ( ), and A ( ) or in F to change the specificity to - and -like ( ). Sequences are aligned and conserved regions are shaded according to Stragier et al. ( ).

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45
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Image of Figure 4
Figure 4

Morphological stages of endospore formation in . Stages of endospore development are described in the text. The vegetative cell begins endospore development during stage 0. Completion of the asymmetric cell division marks stage II. Engulfment of the forespore protoplast is completed in stage III. The spore coat begins to accumulate in stage IV. Subsequent maturation of the spore during the late stages culminates in mother cell lysis and release of the mature spore. Accumulation and activities of the RNA polymerase sigma factors during the endospore development are also indicated, and H are active during the earliest stage of sporulation. The concentration of increases fourfold at the onset of sporulation (active factors are indicated with boldface type). is shown in both the mother cell and the forespore; however, it is active predominantly in the forespore. The symbol― indicates that is held inactive until after septation and that is held inactive until after engulfment of the forespore. is produced predominantly in the forespore, and is produced predominantly in the mother cell. This figure is based on results described in the text and a similar figure in reference .

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45
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Tables

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Table 1

Subunits of core RNA polymerase in gram-positive bacteria

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45
Generic image for table
Table 2

Sigma factors in

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45
Generic image for table
Table 3

Examples of transcription activators in gram-positive bacteria

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45
Generic image for table
Table 4

Some examples of transcription repressors in spp.

Citation: Moran, Jr. C. 1993. RNA Polymerase and Transcription Factors, p 653-667. In Sonenshein A, Hoch J, Losick R (ed), and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555818388.ch45

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