Send to

Choose Destination
EMBO J. 1990 Nov;9(11):3733-42.

E.coli Fis protein activates ribosomal RNA transcription in vitro and in vivo.

Author information

Department of Bacteriology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


An upstream activation region (UAR) contributes to the extremely high activity of the Escherichia coli ribosomal RNA promoter, rrnB P1, increasing its activity 20- to 30-fold over that of the same promoter lacking the UAR. We have used DNase footprinting to define three specific sites in the rrnB P1 UAR that bind Fis, a protein identified previously by its role in recombinational enhancer function in other systems. We find that purified Fis activates transcription from promoters containing these sites 10- to 20-fold in vitro at concentrations correlating with the filling of these sites. Three approaches indicate that Fis contributes to the function of the UAR in vivo. First, there is a progressive loss in the activity of rrnB P1-lacZ fusions as Fis binding sites are deleted. Second, an rrnB P1 promoter with a mutation in a Fis binding site has 5-fold reduced transcription activity in vivo, dramatically reduced Fis binding in vitro, and shows no Fis dependent transcription activation in vitro. Third, upstream activation is reduced 5-fold in a Fis- strain. We show that rRNA promoters derepress in response to the loss of Fis in vivo in accord with the predictions of the negative feedback model for rRNA regulation. We find that fis is not essential for the function of two control systems known to regulate rRNA, growth rate dependent control and stringent control. On the basis of these results, we propose roles for Fis and the upstream activation system in rRNA synthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center