Tandem transcription termination sites in the dnaN gene of Escherichia coli
Armengod, M.E.; García-Sogo, M.; Pérez-Roger, I.; Macián, F.; Navarro-Aviñó, J.P.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 266(29): 19725-19730
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9258 PMID: 1918078 Accession: 007863257
The dnaN gene of Escherichia coli encodes the .beta.-subunit of DNA polymerase III and maps between the dnaA and recF genes. We demonstrated previously that dnaN and recF constitute a transcriptional unit under control of the dnaN promoters. However, the recF gene had its own promoter region located in the middle of the dnaN structural gene. In this report, we use S1 mapping of mRNAs, transcriptional and translational fusions to the galK and lacZ genes, and in vitro mutagenesis to identify and characterize three tandem transcription termination sites responsible for transcriptional polarity in the dnaN-recF operon. These sites are located in the dnaN gene, downstream from the recF promoter region. Cumulatively, they terminate about 80% of the untranslated transcripts started at the recF promoters. As expected, they do not reduce transcription coming from the dnaN promoters unless dnaN translation was prematurely disrupted by the presence of a nonsense codon. The particular arrangement of regulatory elements (promoters and terminators) in the dnaN-recF region provides an exceptional in vivo system to confirm the latent termination site model of transcriptional polarity. In addition, our results contribute to the understanding of the complex regulation of the dnaA, dnaN, and recF genes. We propose that these three genes constitute an operon and that the terminators described in this work could be used to reduce expression of the distal genes of the operon under circumstances in which the dnaN translation happens to be slowed down.