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Annu Rev Microbiol. 1997;51:593-628.

Clues and consequences of DNA bending in transcription.

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Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Campus de Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain.


This review attempts to substantiate the notion that nonlinear DNA structures allow prokaryotic cells to evolve complex signal integration devices that, to some extent, parallel the transduction cascades employed by higher organisms to control cell growth and differentiation. Regulatory cascades allow the possibility of inserting additional checks, either positive or negative, in every step of the process. In this context, the major consequence of DNA bending in transcription is that promoter geometry becomes a key regulatory element. By using DNA bending, bacteria afford multiple metabolic control levels simply through alteration of promoter architecture, so that positive signals favor an optimal constellation of protein-protein and protein-DNA contacts required for activation. Additional effects of regulated DNA bending in prokaryotic promoters include the amplification and translation of small physiological signals into major transcriptional responses and the control of promoter specificity for cognate regulators.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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