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Nucleic Acids Res. 1992 Oct 25;20(20):5423-8.

Elements of an archaeal promoter defined by mutational analysis.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried, Germany.


The sequence requirements for specific and efficient transcription from the 16S/23S rRNA promoter of Sulfolobus shibatae were analysed by point mutations and by cassette mutations using an in vitro transcription system. The examination of the box A-containing distal promoter element (DPE) showed the great importance of the TA sequence in the center of box A for transcription efficiency and the influence of the sequence upstream of box A on determining the distance between the DPE and the start site. In most positions of box A, replacement of the wild type bases by adenines or thymines are less detrimental than replacements by cytosines or guanines. The effectiveness of the proximal promoter element (PPE) was not merely determined by its high A + T content but appeared to be directly related to its nucleotide sequence. At the start site a pyrimidine/purine (py/pu) sequence was necessary for unambiguous initiation as shown by analysis of mutants where the wild type start base was replaced. The sequence of box A optimal for promoter function in vitro is identical to the consensus of 84 mapped archaeal promoter sequences.

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