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Biochimie. 1996;78(11-12):1035-42.

Differential contributions of two elements of rho-independent terminator to transcription termination and mRNA stabilization.

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Department of Molecular Biology, School of Science, Nagaya University, Japan.


The hallmark features of rho-independent transcription terminators are a G(+)C-rich dyad symmetry sequence followed by a run of T residues on a sense strand. Both of these structural elements are required for efficient transcription termination. Besides its primary function, rho-independent terminators are also known to enhance expression of an upstream gene by stabilizing RNA in a few cases. The Escherichia coli crp gene encoding cAMP receptor protein (CRP) contains a typical rho-independent terminator. To gain further insight into the roles of the G(+)C-rich dyad symmetry sequence and the poly(T) tract both in transcription termination and mRNA stabilization, we constructed a series of variant crp terminators and analyzed their abilities regarding these two functions. Disruption of the G(+)C-rich dyad symmetry sequence almost completely eliminated terminator activity while disruption of the poly(T) tract reduced terminator activity significantly but not completely. Thus, the contribution of the G(+)C-rich dyad symmetry sequence to transcription termination is larger than that of the poly(T) tract. Disruption of the G(+)C-rich dyad symmetry region reduced expression of the upstream crp gene by accelerating the rate of mRNA degradation. However, disruption of the poly(T) sequence had no effect on the stability of the crp mRNA, indicating that the poly(T) tract plays no role in mRNA stabilization. When the crp terminator was replaced by terminators derived from other genes, the fusion genes expressed the crp mRNA at the same level as did the native crp gene, suggesting that the mRNA stabilization effect is probably a general nature of rho-independent terminators.

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