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Cell. 1986 Dec 5;47(5):817-27.

A dominant influence of flanking sequences on a local structural transition in DNA.


We have discovered a striking dependence of a structural transition in DNA on sequences that are distanced from those directly participating in the transformation. The dominant factor determining the selection of kinetic properties of cruciform extrusion is the sequence of the DNA that flanks the inverted repeat. The sequence of the inverted repeat itself appears to have little or no influence. The critical sequences that confer the unusual kinetics exhibited by the ColE1 cruciform are very A+T-rich. A single such sequence is sufficient, which may be as short as 100 bp, and it can control inverted repeats placed at either end. The effects operate in cis, are independent of polarity, and may be effective over relatively long distances. The influence of context has wide implications, possibly including the control of gene expression.

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