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EMBO J. 1992 Mar;11(3):1075-83.

The E.coli fis promoter is subject to stringent control and autoregulation.

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Institut für Genbiologische Forschung Berlin GmbH, Germany.


The DNA binding protein FIS is involved in processes like site specific DNA inversion, lambda excision and stimulation of stable RNA synthesis in Escherichia coli. The amount of FIS protein is subject to dramatic changes during growth. We demonstrate that fis is part of an operon with one ORF of unknown function preceding the fis gene. Regulation of fis synthesis occurs at the transcriptional level. Within 15 min after nutritional upshift a large burst of fis mRNA is produced which levels off when cells begin to grow. By mutational analysis using promoter-lacZ fusions we demonstrate that the fis promoter is autoregulated by FIS. Growth phase regulation of the fis promoter depends on the presence of a GC motif downstream of the -10 region. We show that the fis promoter is subject to stringent control and discuss this unusual feature with respect to the known and putative functions FIS serves in E. coli.

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