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Bioessays. 1995 Nov;17(11):987-97.

Does replication-induced transcription regulate synthesis of the myriad low copy number proteins of Escherichia coli?

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Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India.


Over 80% of the genes in the E. coli chromosome express fewer than a hundred copies each of their protein products per cell. It is argued here that transcription of these genes is neither constitutive nor regulated by protein factors, but rather, induced by the act of replication. The utility of such replication-induced (RI) transcription to the temporal regulation of synthesis of determinate quantities of low copy number (LCN) proteins is described. It is suggested that RI transcription may be necessitated, as well as facilitated, by the folding of the bacterial chromosome into a compact nucleoid. Mechanistic aspects of the induction of transcription by replication are discussed with respect to the modulation of transcriptional initiation by negative supercoiling effects, promoter methylation status and derepression. It is shown that RI transcription offers plausible explanations for the constancy of the C period of the E. coli cell cycle and the remarkable conservation of gene order in the chromosomes of enteric bacteria. Some experimental tests of the hypothesis are proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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