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Annu Rev Genet. 2002;36:175-203. Epub 2002 Jun 11.

DNA topology-mediated control of global gene expression in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, College of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, California 92697, USA.


Because the level of DNA superhelicity varies with the cellular energy charge, it can change rapidly in response to a wide variety of altered nutritional and environmental conditions. This is a global alteration, affecting the entire chromosome and the expression levels of all operons whose promoters are sensitive to superhelicity. In this way, the global pattern of gene expression may be dynamically tuned to changing needs of the cell under a wide variety of circumstances. In this article, we propose a model in which chromosomal superhelicity serves as a global regulator of gene expression in Escherichia coli, tuning expression patterns across multiple operons, regulons, and stimulons to suit the growth state of the cell. This model is illustrated by the DNA supercoiling-dependent mechanisms that coordinate basal expression levels of operons of the ilv regulon both with one another and with cellular growth conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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