Research Article

Transcription Regulation by Initiating NTP Concentration: rRNA Synthesis in Bacteria

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Science  19 Dec 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5346, pp. 2092-2097
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5346.2092

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The sequence of a promoter determines not only the efficiency with which it forms a complex with RNA polymerase, but also the concentration of nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) required for initiating transcription. Escherichia coli ribosomal RNA (rrn P1) promoters require high initiating NTP concentrations for efficient transcription because they form unusually short-lived complexes with RNA polymerase; high initiating NTP concentrations [adenosine or guanosine triphosphate (ATP or GTP), depending on the rrn P1 promoter] are needed to bind to and stabilize the open complex. ATP and GTP concentrations, and thereforerrn P1 promoter activity, increase with growth rate. Because ribosomal RNA transcription determines the rate of ribosome synthesis, the control of ribosomal RNA transcription by NTP concentration provides a molecular explanation for the growth rate–dependent control and homeostatic regulation of ribosome synthesis.

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