Transcriptional mapping of a DNA replication gene cluster in bacteriophage T4. Sites for initiation, termination, and mRNA processing.


A phage T4 genetic cluster that encodes DNA polymerase, several other DNA replication proteins, transcriptional factors, and the translation repressor RegA has been shown to be controlled by overlapping modes of transcription which initiate at several promoters. The promoters were mapped by using a combination of assays including Northern blotting, S1-mapping, RNA sequencing, and analysis of products of radioactive labeling of 5' ends on T4-induced RNA in vitro via the reaction catalyzed by eukaryotic guanylyl transferase (RNA capping assay). The most proximal in the cluster are two promoters that do not require any phage-induced factors for activation, i.e. they are T4 early promoters. Initiation at these promoters yields several RNA species having overlapping 5'-terminal sequences, the largest of which is estimated to be about 15,000 nucleotides long and to include all the cistrons of the cluster. A third early promoter maps inside the protein encoding segment of one of the cistrons (T4 gene 47), while at least five additional promoters map in intercistronic regions and are T4 middle promoters, i.e. they require the T4-induced DNA-binding transcription factor MotA. Transcriptional readthrough at a termination site within the T4 gene 45-44 intercistronic region is required for synthesis of gp44 and gp62, two essential T4 DNA-polymerase (gp43) accessory proteins. In contrast, transcription of T4 gene 43 is serviced by readthrough across a termination site in the regA-43 intercistronic region as well as by a MotA-dependent promoter that maps downstream of the termination site, and the region contains a site for processing by a T4-induced enzyme that also cleaves elsewhere in the polycistronic mRNA from the cluster (i.e. in the Shine-Dalgarno sequence of the gene 45.2 mRNA). The termination events in the gene 45-44 and regA-43 intercistronic regions both occur downstream of RNA stem-loop structures containing the sequence 5'CUUCGG3' in the loop segments. Transcription termination in the 78-base-pair regA-43 intercistronic region occurs about 60 nucleotides away from the gp43 initiator AUG, transcription initiation occurs at 38-40 nucleotides upstream from the AUG, and T4-dependent RNA processing occurs at several sites (including a GGAG sequence) between the transcription termination and initiation sites. Thus, all gp43-encoding mRNAs contain the translational operator (residues -40 to -1 relative to the AUG) for autogenous repression by this DNA polymerase (Andrake et al., 1988).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)




Accessory Proteins/Complexes

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T4 polymerase and its accessory proteins are regulated through T4 promoters and transcriptional readthrough


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