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Mol Cell. 2002 Sep;10(3):611-22.

The sigma(70) subunit of RNA polymerase is contacted by the (lambda)Q antiterminator during early elongation.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The Q protein of bacteriophage lambda is a transcription antiterminator that modifies the elongation properties of E. coli RNA polymerase (RNAP). To do this, DNA-bound (lambda)Q must first engage a paused elongation complex. Here we show that this engagement of (lambda)Q with RNAP involves an interaction between (lambda)Q and sigma(70), demonstrating that sigma(70) can be a target of regulation during elongation. Furthermore, we provide evidence that this interaction between (lambda)Q and sigma(70) stabilizes a conformation of RNAP that requires the disengagement of a segment of sigma(70) from the core enzyme. Recent structure-based models posit that the transition from the initiation to the elongation phase of transcription involves the staged displacement of sigma(70) from the RNAP core. Our findings provide support for this proposal.

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