Research Articles

An RNA polymerase-binding protein that is required for communication between an enhancer and a promoter

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Science  04 May 1990:
Vol. 248, Issue 4955, pp. 573-578
DOI: 10.1126/science.2185541


Although bacteriophage T4 late promoters are selectively recognized by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase bearing a single protein encoded by T4 gene 55 (gp55), efficient transcription at these promoters requires enhancement by the three T4 DNA polymerase accessory proteins, bound to distal "mobile enhancer" sites. Two principles are shown to govern this transcriptional enhancement: (i) Promoter recognition and communication between the enhancer and the promoter require separate phage-coded proteins. Only RNA polymerase that has the T4 gene 33 protein (gp33) bound to it is subject to enhancement by the three DNA replication proteins. (ii) Transcriptional enhancement in this prokaryotic system is promoter-specific. Promoter specificity is generated by a direct competition of phage T4 gp33 and gp55 with the E. coli promoter recognition protein, sigma 70, for binding to the E. coli RNA polymerase core. Thus, polymerase that contains sigma 70 is competent to transcribe T4 early and middle genes, but lacks the ability to be enhanced by the DNA replication proteins, while polymerase that contains gp55 and gp33 is capable of enhancement via gp33, but its activity is restricted to T4 late promoters by gp55.

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