Initiation, pausing, and termination of transcription in the threonine operon regulatory region of Escherichia coli

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The 6 S leader RNA transcript from the E. coli threonine operon controlling region was synthesized in vitro using purified RNA polymerase and restriction fragment DNA templates. The terminated leader transcript was analyzed by RNase T1 digestion followed by electrophoresis on 20% polyacrylamide, 8 M urea gels. Oligonucleotides or 7, 8, 13, 15, and 35 bases in length were detected and correlated with the known DNA sequence. The kinetics of RNase T1 digestion indicated that the RNA forms extensive secondary structure, especially at the 3'-terminus of the transcript. The sites of transcription initiation were determined by labeling the 5'-end of the transcript with [γ-32P]ATP or -GTP followed by direct RNA sequencing.The DNA sequence preceding the initiation site shows homology with the equivalent regions of other bacterial and bacteriophage promoters. The transcription termination sites were determined by mapping of the RNase T1 oligonucleotides arising from the 3'-terminus of the transcript. Comparison of the mobilities of the 3'-oligonucleotides with the mobilities of standards on 20% polyacrylamide, 8 M urea gels indicated that the RNA contains a heterogeneous 3'-terminus. The two predominant oligonucleotides were CU7 and CU8. The 3'-terminus of the transcript also contains a region of dyad symmetry immediately preceding a stretch of uridine residues, characteristic of other ρ-independent transcripts. In addition, kinetic studies indicated that RNA polymerase pauses approximately 50 base pairs upstream from the site of termination. The pause site appears to be immediately distal to another region of dyad symmetry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3896-3904
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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