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Biochimie. 1991 Dec;73(12):1473-9.

Regulation of the heat shock response in E coli: involvement of positive and negative cis-acting elements in translation control of sigma 32 synthesis.

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Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Japan.


When cells of E coli are transferred from 30 to 42 degrees C, the cellular level of sigma 32 (rpoH gene product) increases transiently, resulting in increased transcription of a set of heat shock genes. Both increased synthesis and increased stability of sigma 32 contribute to transient accumulation of sigma 32. Evidence suggests that synthesis of sigma 32 is enhanced primarily at the level of rpoH translation. We have constructed and examined the expression of deletion derivatives of rpoH-lacZ gene fusion at 30 degrees C and after shift to 42 degrees C. It was revealed that two cis-acting sequences within the rpoH coding region are involved in thermal regulation of fusion protein synthesis. One region immediately downstream of the initiation codon is required for high level expression, whereas the other internal region is involved in repression at low temperature. Thus, these regions act as positive and negative cis-elements in thermal regulation of rpoH translation. The rpoH mRNA secondary structure model suggesting an interplay between the two regions has been proposed to account for the temperature-induced sigma 32 synthesis as a primary cellular response to the heat shock stress.

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