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J Mol Biol. 1990 Jul 5;214(1):27-37.

Control of gene expression in the temperate coliphage 186. VIII. Control of lysis and lysogeny by a transcriptional switch involving face-to-face promoters.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Adelaide, South Australia.


The lysogenic and early lytic operons of the temperate coliphage 186 are transcribed divergently. Primer extension mapping of the 5' ends of these in vivo transcripts showed that the rightward lytic promoter, pR, and the leftward lysogenic promoter, pL, are arranged face-to-face, with their transcripts overlapping by 60 bases. We examined the control of transcription from pR and pL using galK as a reporter gene. The product of the lysogenic cI gene strongly repressed pR transcription while allowing pL transcription. The product of the lytic apl gene (formerly CP75) strongly repressed pL transcription while allowing pR transcription. Thus, the cI-pR-pL-apl region functioned as a transcriptional switch, determining whether transcription was lytic or lysogenic. Also, the cI gene product was able to stimulate pL, possibly by alleviating an inhibition of pL transcription caused by convergent transcription from pR. Other consequences of the face-to-face promoter arrangement are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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