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J Mol Biol. 2002 Jun 21;319(5):1067-83.

Beta subunit residues 186-433 and 436-445 are commonly used by Esigma54 and Esigma70 RNA polymerase for open promoter complex formation.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Biomedical Sciences Building, Imperial College Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK.


During transcription initiation by DNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNAP) promoter DNA has to be melted locally to allow the synthesis of RNA transcript. Localized melting of promoter DNA is a target for genetic regulation and is poorly understood at the molecular level. The Escherichia coli RNAP holoenzyme is a six-subunit (alpha(2)betabeta'omegasigma; Esigma) protein complex. The sigma subunit is directly responsible for promoter recognition and contributes to localized DNA melting. Mutations in the beta subunit have profound effects on promoter melting by Esigma70. The sigma54 subunit is a representative of an unrelated class of the sigma subunits. Here, we determined whether mutations in the beta subunit that affect late stages of promoter complex formation by Esigma70 also influence promoter complex formation by the enhancer-dependent Esigma54. Analyses of in vitro defects in promoter complex formation and transcription initiation exhibited by mutant Esigma54 suggest that during promoter complex formation by Esigma54 and Esigma70 a common set of beta subunit sequences is used. Late stages of promoter complex formation and localized melting of promoter DNA by Esigma70 and Esigma54 thus proceed through a common pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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