Research Articles

Enhancement of bacteriophage T4 late transcription by components of the T4 DNA replication apparatus

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Science  01 Sep 1989:
Vol. 245, Issue 4921, pp. 952-958
DOI: 10.1126/science.2672335


The expression of the late genes in bacteriophage T4 development is closely connected to viral DNA replication. Three T4-encoded DNA polymerase accessory proteins are shown to stimulate transcription at T4 late promoters in an adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis-requiring process. The properties of the activation resemble those found for enhancers of eukaryotic transcription. However, the nature of the enhancer of T4 late transcription is novel in that it is a structure--a break in the nontranscribed DNA stand--to which the three replication proteins bind, rather than a sequence. Since the three DNA polymerase accessory proteins are carried on the moving replication fork as part of the replisome, we postulate that viral DNA replication forks act, in vivo, as the mobile enhancers of T4 late gene transcription. Whereas Escherichia coli RNA polymerase bearing the T4 gene 55 protein can selectively recognize T4 late promoters, it is only capable of responding to the transcription-enhancing activity of the three replication proteins on acquiring an additional T4-specific modification.

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