Regulation of ribosomal RNA synthesis in E. coli: effects of the global regulator guanosine tetraphosphate (ppGpp)

Wagner, R.

Journal of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology 4(3): 331-340


ISSN/ISBN: 1464-1801
PMID: 11931566
Accession: 011270407

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The global regulatory nucleotides (p)ppGpp are major effectors for the control of ribosomal RNA in bacteria. The effector molecules accumulate to different cellular levels at amino acid deprivation or during different growth rates. They change the activity of RNA polymerase to transcribe from sensitive promoters (e.g. ribosomal RNA promoters). Sensitive promoters are characterized by a GC-rich discriminator element in addition to further structural requirements not completely understood. ppGpp must also be regarded as a mediator for growth rate control although it appears that ppGpp-independent regulatory mechanisms exist. Inhibition occurs at various steps during initiation but also during elongation where RNA polymerase pausing is observed. From the existing data a mechanistic model for the action of ppGpp is suggested considering structural details of RNA polymerase obtained at high resolution.