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Genome-wide identification of transcription start sites, promoters and transcription factor binding sites in E. coli



Genome-wide identification of transcription start sites, promoters and transcription factor binding sites in E. coli



Plos one 4(10): E7526



Despite almost 40 years of molecular genetics research in Escherichia coli a major fraction of its Transcription Start Sites (TSSs) are still unknown, limiting therefore our understanding of the regulatory circuits that control gene expression in this model organism. RegulonDB (http://regulondb.ccg.unam.mx/) is aimed at integrating the genetic regulatory network of E. coli K12 as an entirely bioinformatic project up till now. In this work, we extended its aims by generating experimental data at a genome scale on TSSs, promoters and regulatory regions. We implemented a modified 5' RACE protocol and an unbiased High Throughput Pyrosequencing Strategy (HTPS) that allowed us to map more than 1700 TSSs with high precision. From this collection, about 230 corresponded to previously reported TSSs, which helped us to benchmark both our methodologies and the accuracy of the previous mapping experiments. The other ca 1500 TSSs mapped belong to about 1000 different genes, many of them with no assigned function. We identified promoter sequences and type of sigma factors that control the expression of about 80% of these genes. As expected, the housekeeping sigma(70) was the most common type of promoter, followed by sigma(38). The majority of the putative TSSs were located between 20 to 40 nucleotides from the translational start site. Putative regulatory binding sites for transcription factors were detected upstream of many TSSs. For a few transcripts, riboswitches and small RNAs were found. Several genes also had additional TSSs within the coding region. Unexpectedly, the HTPS experiments revealed extensive antisense transcription, probably for regulatory functions. The new information in RegulonDB, now with more than 2400 experimentally determined TSSs, strengthens the accuracy of promoter prediction, operon structure, and regulatory networks and provides valuable new information that will facilitate the understanding from a global perspective the complex and intricate regulatory network that operates in E. coli.

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Accession: 053397102

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PMID: 19838305


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