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Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 Jul 11;23(13):2351-60.

Compilation and analysis of Bacillus subtilis sigma A-dependent promoter sequences: evidence for extended contact between RNA polymerase and upstream promoter DNA.

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Section of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-8101, USA.


Sequence analysis of 236 promoters recognized by the Bacillus subtilis sigma A-RNA polymerase reveals an extended promoter structure. The most highly conserved bases include the -35 and -10 hexanucleotide core elements and a TG dinucleotide at position -15, -14. In addition, several weakly conserved A and T residues are present upstream of the -35 region. Analysis of dinucleotide composition reveals A2- and T2-rich sequences in the upstream promoter region (-36 to -70) which are phased with the DNA helix: An tracts are common near -43, -54 and -65; Tn tracts predominate at the intervening positions. When compared with larger regions of the genome, upstream promoter regions have an excess of An and Tn sequences for n > 4. These data indicate that an RNA polymerase binding site affects DNA sequence as far upstream as -70. This sequence conservation is discussed in light of recent evidence that the alpha subunits of the polymerase core bind DNA and that the promoter may wrap around RNA polymerase.

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