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Nucleic Acids Research (1)
PLoS ONE (1)
Nagaraja, Valakunja (2)
Swapna, Ganduri (2)
Karambelkar, Shweta (1)
Kumari, Vandana (1)
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Different Modes of Transactivation of Bacteriophage Mu Late Promoters by Transcription Factor C
Transactivator protein C is required for the expression of bacteriophage Mu late genes from lys, I, P and mom promoters during lytic life cycle of the phage. The mechanism of transcription activation of mom gene by C protein is well understood. C activates transcription at Pmom by initial unwinding of the promoter DNA, thereby facilitating RNA polymerase (RNAP) recruitment. Subsequently, C interacts with the ß' subunit of RNAP to enhance promoter clearance. The mechanism by which C activates other late genes of the phage is not known. We carried out promoter-polymerase interaction studies with all the late gene promoters to determine the individual step of C mediated activation. Unlike at Pmom, at the other three promoters, RNAP recruitment and closed complex formation are not C dependent. Instead, the action of C at Plys, PI, and PP is during the isomerization from closed complex to open complex with no apparent effect at other steps of initiation pathway. The mechanism of transcription activation of mom and other late promoters by their common activator is different. This distinction in the mode of activation (promoter recruitment and escape versus isomerization) by the same activator at different promoters appears to be important for optimized expression of each of the late genes.
Silencing of toxic gene expression by Fis
Nucleic Acids Research
Bacteria and bacteriophages have evolved DNA modification as a strategy to protect their genomes. Mom protein of bacteriophage Mu modifies the phage DNA, rendering it refractile to numerous restriction enzymes and in turn enabling the phage to successfully invade a variety of hosts. A strong fortification, a combined activity of the phage and host factors, prevents untimely expression of mom and associated toxic effects. Here, we identify the bacterial chromatin architectural protein Fis as an additional player in this crowded regulatory cascade. Both in vivo and in vitro studies described here indicate that Fis acts as a transcriptional repressor of mom promoter. Further, our data shows that Fis mediates its repressive effect by denying access to RNA polymerase at mom promoter. We propose that a combined repressive effect of Fis and previously characterized negative regulatory factors could be responsible to keep the gene silenced most of the time. We thus present a new facet of Fis function in Mu biology. In addition to bringing about overall downregulation of Mu genome, it also ensures silencing of the advantageous but potentially lethal mom gene.
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