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Mol Cell Biochem. 1980 Aug 16;31(3):177-96.

Autogenous and post-transcriptional regulation of RNA polymerase synthesis.


The regulation of gene expression was studied, for the Escherichia coli rpoBC operon, which includes the genes, rpoB and rpoC, for the beta and beta subunits of RNA polymerase, and rplJ and rplL, for the two proteins, L10 and L7/12, of the 50S ribosome. The gene organization agrees well with the accumulated observations indicating the coordinate synthesis of RNA polymerase and ribosomes under various growth conditions for wild-type E. coli cells. On the other hand, the differential regulation of the two essential components observed under restrictive growth conditions, after addition of various drugs or with certain mutants, in particular those carrying mutations in the RNA polymerase genes, was found to take place through two novel regulation systems: The transcriptional termination at an internal attenuation site and the two autogenous and posttranscriptional controls, being specific for the two ribosomal protein genes and the two RNA polymerase subunit genes, respectively. The majority of the transcription initiated from the promoter rpoP beta terminates at an attenuator site between the promoter-proximal rplJL and the promoter-distal rpoBC genes. The frequency of the attenuation seems to control the relative level of RNA polymerase synthesis to that of ribosomes. The expression of rpoBC genes is subject to an autogenous regulation, in which both RNA polymerase holoenzyme and alpha 2 beta complex function as regulatory molecules with repressor activity. The autogenous regulation was found to operate at post-transcriptional step(s), probably at the level of translation. During the study on the regulation of RNA polymerase synthesis, we noticed that the rpoBC operon contained another autogenous regulation circuit, in which the synthesis of L10 and L7/12 was specifically repressed by the L10-L7/12 complex. Molecular mechanisms and physiological meanings of the novel regulations are discussed.

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