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Mol Gen Genet. 1982;185(3):487-92.

A secondary promoter for elongation factor Tu synthesis in the str ribosomal protein operon of Escherichia coli.


The str operon of Escherichia coli contains genes for ribosomal proteins S12 and S7 and for elongation factors EF-G and EF-Tu (Jaskunas et al. 1975). We have subcloned various segments of DNA from this operon onto multicopy plasmids. We found that cells carrying a recombinant plasmid which lacks the major promoter for the str operon but contains the 5' portion of the EF-Tu gene synthesize a novel protein which we have identified as a truncated EF-Tu molecule. Moreover, cells carrying plasmids with an intact EF-Tu gene synthesize the elongation factor at a 3- to 5-fold higher rate than haploid cells. Thus the EF-Tu gene can be expressed in the absence of the major promoter for the str operon. This expression is not due to read-through from plasmid promoters, but it is dependent on the presence of the distal portion of the EF-G gene on the plasmids. These results indicate that there is a secondary promoter for EF-Tu expression, apparently located within the structural gene for elongation factor EF-G.

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