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FEBS Lett. 2006 Dec 11;580(28-29):6617-22. Epub 2006 Nov 16.

A promoter switch that can rescue a plant sigma factor mutant.

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Plant Cell Physiology and Molecular Biology, ND 2/72, University of Bochum, Universitätsstrasse 150, D-44780 Bochum, Germany.


Chloroplasts sigma factors act in concert with PEP, the bacterial-type plastid RNA polymerase. Using a sigma knockout line from Arabidopsis thaliana, we investigated mutant-specific changes in plastid gene expression at RNA level. One characteristic feature was the appearance of a long transcript that spans the atpB-E operon and extends considerably into the far-upstream region of atpB. This region reveals a cluster of typical promoter elements for NEP, the second (phage-type) plastid RNA polymerase. The NEP promoter cluster can help maintain RNA synthesis in situations where no functional sigma factor is available for PEP.

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