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Biochemistry. 1998 Dec 22;37(51):18074-80.

Promoter recognition by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase: effects of the UP element on open complex formation and promoter clearance.

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Department of Biochemistry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4935, USA.


Escherichia coli promoters for transcription of ribosomal and tRNAs are greatly activated by an A+T-rich "UP" element upstream of the -35 region. These same promoters have also been found to otherwise deviate in several respects from the consensus promoter sequence. Here we present the results of a kinetic characterization of the interaction of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase with UP element-containing promoters which by virtue of consensus or near-consensus sequence features should be among the most optimal that can be encountered by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase. We show that for such promoters, (1) the second-order rate constant describing formation of the initial (closed) complex is close to that expected for a diffusion-limited process, (2) the extent of activation by the UP element is temperature-sensitive, (3) the UP element accelerates a process after DNA binding by RNA polymerase, and (4) the presence of the UP element delays promoter clearance upon addition of nucleoside triphosphates to preformed RNA polymerase-promoter complexes. Finally, we provide evidence in support of models which describe the DNA melting process accompanying open complex formation as initiating in the -10 promoter region and progressing in the downstream direction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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