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Cell. 2002 Apr 19;109(2):193-203.

The transcriptional regulator RfaH stimulates RNA chain synthesis after recruitment to elongation complexes by the exposed nontemplate DNA strand.

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Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1550 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA.

Erratum in

  • Cell 2002 Sep 20;110(6):801.


The transcriptional regulatory protein RfaH controls expression of several operons that encode extracytoplasmic components in bacteria. Regulation by RfaH occurs during transcript elongation and depends on a 5'-proximal, transcribed nucleic acid sequence called ops that induces transcriptional pausing in vitro and in vivo. We report that RfaH recognizes RNA polymerase transcribing RfaH-regulated operons by interacting with the ops sequence in the exposed nontemplate DNA strand of ops-paused transcription complexes. Although RfaH delays escape from the ops pause, once escape occurs, RfaH enhances elongation by suppressing pausing and rho-dependent termination without apparent involvement of other accessory proteins. This activity predicts a cumulative antitermination model for RfaH's regulation of ops-containing operons in vivo.

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