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Regulation of in vitro expression of the escherichia coli frd operon alanine and fhr represent positive and negative control elements

, : Regulation of in vitro expression of the escherichia coli frd operon alanine and fhr represent positive and negative control elements. Nucleic Acids Research 16(4 PART A): 6339-6352

The frdABCD operon of Escherichia coli encodes the anaerobically expressed terminal electron transport enzyme, fumarate reductase. Two mutually exclusive hairpin loop structures can occur in frd mRNA just downstream of the start of the frdA cistron. The mRNA sequence involved encodes a stretch of sequence rich in Ala and uses all four of the codons for this amino acid. In vitro expression of the frdABCD operon showed that as the level of plasmid DNA was increased from 150 fmol to 225 fmol, transcription of mRNA was suddenly elevated 6.5-fold, consistent with the concept of titrating out a repressor protein. Further studies showed that the concommitant 10.9-fold increase in translation of protein was heavily biased towards the proximal end of the operon, with little or no expression of FrdC or FrdD and a ratio of FrdA:FrdB of 2.6:1. Addition of Ala to the S-30 extract caused a 6.1-fold amplification of frd messenger transcription, a 17.6-fold increase in Frd protein translation, and a balancing of the subunit ratios to 1:1:1:1. The expression of the bla gene carried on the plasmid was not affected by DNA titration or the addition of Ala. When fnr DNA was added in equimolar ratio to frd DNA the amplification of fumarate reductase expression by Ala was abolished and the ratio of subunits produced showed a high degree of polarity with or without Ala.

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