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Gene. 1995 Oct 16;164(1):81-4.

An alternative sigma factor controls transcription of flagellar class-III operons in Escherichia coli: gene sequence, overproduction, purification and characterization.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Illinois at Chicago 60612-7344, USA.


Based on the studies of the FliA protein in Bacillus subtilis (Bs) and Salmonella typhimurium (St), the Escherichia coli (Ec) fliA gene has been proposed to encode a flagellar-specific sigma factor, sigma 28. In this study, the complete nucleotide (nt) sequence of Ec fliA was determined. The fliA coding region consists of 717 nt starting with a GTG start codon and ending with a TAA stop codon. The gene product is predicted to be 239 amino acids (26,435 Da). Sequence comparison between Ec FliA and the sigma 28 of St revealed 93.7% identity. Gene fliA was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction, subcloned into expression vector pT7-7, and overexpressed. The overproduced 28-kDa FliA protein, recognized by the St anti-sigma 28 antibody, was purified to homogeneity. The purified protein was able to initiate transcription from the tar promoter in the presence of RNP core enzyme. We conclude that FliA functions as an alternative sigma factor sigma 28 which is specific for flagellar operons in Ec.

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