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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1984 Nov;81(21):6803-7.

Heat shock regulatory gene (htpR) of Escherichia coli is required for growth at high temperature but is dispensable at low temperature.


Nonsense mutations affecting the positive regulatory gene (htpR) of heat shock response have been obtained in a strain of Escherichia coli carrying no suppressor. The mutants can grow only at temperatures below 34 degrees C-35 degrees C. Heat, ethanol, and coumermycin induce major heat shock proteins in the wild-type but not in the htpR mutants. In contrast, the level of heat shock proteins synthesized at low temperature is unaffected. The htpR gene product is thus required for induction of heat shock proteins by heat or other stresses but not for their "basal-level" synthesis. Nucleotide sequence has been determined for the wild-type and the mutant alleles of htpR. The coding region appears to consist of 852 nucleotide pairs that correspond to 284 amino acids. Sequences commonly considered as signals for transcriptional initiation and termination were found flanking the coding region. Within this region, six amber, one opal, and two missense mutations were identified; the nonsense mutations are scattered along the gene, some being very close to the presumed amino terminus. These results indicate that the absence of htpR gene product is directly responsible for the failure to respond to heat shock or other stresses and for the inability to grow at high temperature. We propose that htpR represents a new class of genes that are essential for growth only at high temperatures (greater than 35 degrees C). Implications of the sequence homologies found among htpR, rpoD, and nusA proteins are discussed.

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