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EMBO J. 1982;1(11):1399-404.

Transcription from efficient promoters can interfere with plasmid replication and diminish expression of plasmid specified genes.


The copy number of plasmids containing the ColE1 replicon is affected by changes in the transcriptional activity within the plasmid if these changes lead to transcriptional readthrough into the replication region towards the promoter priming DNA replication. Such readthrough e.g., from the tet region in pBR322 not only causes overproduction of a peptide known to affect the copy number negatively but also appears to interfere negatively with the replication of the plasmid itself. The proper placement of efficient transcriptional terminators prevents such interference and permits the stable integration of strong promoters. Due to this termination effect, up to 9-fold differences in plasmid copy number were observed, depending upon the particular growth conditions. The higher copy number is of course reflected by higher yields of plasmid-specified gene products indicating the relevance of the above effects for studies of gene expression.

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