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Cell. 1985 Jan;40(1):159-69.

Autoregulation of the DNA replication gene dnaA in E. coli K-12.


The dnaA gene in E. coli K-12 is required for the initiation of DNA replication. Although the specific function of the dnaA protein is unknown, it has been suggested that it is a regulator of the frequency of initiation. In this paper we report that the expression of both a dnaA-lacZ translational fusion and a dnaA-trpA-lacZ transcriptional fusion in vivo are sensitive to changes in the level of functional dnaA protein. Overproduction of the dnaA gene product leads to a reduction in expression from both fusions while introduction of dnaA- alleles results in an increased expression. Results from a deletion analysis of the dnaA promoter/regulatory region suggest that both dnaA promoters are regulated by the dnaA gene product and that a site between the two promoters is responsible for the regulation. DNAase protection experiments showed that the dnaA protein binds to DNA in the region of the two dnaA promoters. Our results indicate that the dnaA gene product regulates its own synthesis by inhibiting transcription from both of its promoters.

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