Two open complexes and a requirement for Mg2+ to open the lambda PR transcription start site

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Science  15 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5093, pp. 358-361
DOI: 10.1126/science.8420002


Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) footprinting in the absence and presence of magnesium (Mg2+) at the lambda PR promoter identified two different open complexes with Escherichia coli E sigma 70 RNA polymerase (designated RPo1 and RPo2). The single-stranded region in RPo1 (formed in the absence of Mg2+) was at most 12 bases long, whereas that in RPo2 (formed in the presence of Mg2+) spanned at least 14 bases. Only in RPo2 did the single-stranded region extend to the start point of transcription (+1, +2). These results provide a structural basis for the requirement for uptake of Mg2+ in the formation of RPo2 from RPo1, as deduced from kinetic studies at this promoter.

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