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EMBO J. 1998 Sep 1;17(17):5095-102.

Transcription through a simple DNA repeat blocks replication elongation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA.


The influence of d(G)n.d(C)n repeats on plasmid replication in Escherichia coli cells was analyzed using electrophoretic analysis of replication intermediates. These repeats impeded the replication fork in a length- and orientation-dependent manner. Unexpectedly, the replication arrest relied primarily on the repeats' transcription. When the d(C)n sequence served as the transcriptional template, both transcription and replication were blocked. This was true for transcription driven by either bacterial or phage RNA polymerases. We hypothesize that the replication fork halts after it encounters a stalled ternary complex of the RNA polymerase, the DNA template and the r(G)n transcript. This constitutes a novel mechanism for the regulation of replication elongation. The effects of this mechanism on repeat length polymorphism and genome rearrangements are discussed.

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