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Mol Gen Genet. 1995 Mar 20;246(6):697-706.

Regulation of the Caulobacter crescentus rpoN gene and function of the purified sigma 54 in flagellar gene transcription.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, NJ 08544-1014, USA.


The sequential transcription of flagellar (fla) genes in the Caulobacter crescentus cell cycle is controlled by the organization of these genes in a regulatory hierarchy of four levels (I-IV). Level III and level IV genes at the bottom of the hierarchy are dependent on level II genes and are transcribed late in the cell cycle from sigma 54-dependent promoters. To study the regulation of genes at levels III and IV, we have isolated and sequenced the rpoN gene in order to analyze its expression, purified the rpoN gene product, and examined the role of the RpoN protein in initiation of transcription from sigma 54-dependent promoters. We report here epistasis experiments that show rpoN is required for transcription of level III genes, but that the expression of the rpoN gene itself is not dependent on any of the fla genes examined; these results place rpoN at level II near the top of the hierarchy. Consistent with this conclusion were nuclease S1 assays that mapped the rpoN transcription start site and identified a sequence centered at -24, GTTA/TACCA/TT, which is similar to the core consensus sequence of the level IIB fliF, fliL, and fliQ promoters. We purified the full-length rpoN gene product to near homogeneity and demonstrated that the RpoN protein is required for transcription from the well-characterized sigma 54-dependent glnAp2 promoter of Escherichia coli and specifically recognizes the level III flbG gene promoter of C. crescentus. These last results confirm that rpoN encodes the C. crescentus sigma 54 factor and opens the way for the biochemical analysis of transcriptional regulation of level III and IV fla genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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