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Mol Microbiol. 1996 May;20(3):549-58.

Regulation of the expression of the traM gene of the F sex factor of Escherichia coli.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Conjugative F-plasmid transfer is mediated by the transfer (tra) region which encodes nearly 40 genes, 25 of which are essential for this process in Escherichia coli. TraM is required for conjugation and is encoded on a separate operon between the origin of transfer and the traJ gene. The traJ gene product is the positive regulator of transcription of the 30 kb tra operon, the first gene of which is traY. Using primer-extension assays and immunoblots on the F plasmid itself and its derivatives, we demonstrate that F TraM regulates its own expression from two promoters and that it requires TraY as well as expression of the tra operon for maximal traM transcription. traY is the first gene in the tra operon under the control of the TraJ regulator, which is in turn negatively regulated by the antisense RNA, FinP, and the FinO protein. Thus, a control circuit has been established whereby traM is negatively regulated by the FinOP fertility inhibition system through its repression of TraJ expression, which adversely affects transcription of the traY gene.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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