Editors' ChoiceMicrobiology

Keeping gene transcription in check

Sci. Signal.  25 Aug 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 391, pp. ec243
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad2813

Transcription of all genes is carried out by RNA polymerase (RNAP). The enzyme is thus a pivotal regulation point for many cell and developmental processes. In bacteria, sigma factors play a vital role in transcription regulation, with σ54 being critical for transcription of many stress response genes. Yang et al. determined the x-ray crystal structure of RNAP bound to σ54, as well as promoter DNA. In the initial inhibited state of the RNAP-σ54 complex, the σ54 blocks the template DNA from entering the RNAP active site and the downstream DNA channel.

Y. Yang, V. C. Darbari, N. Zhang, D. Lu, R. Glyde, Y.-P. Wang, J. T. Winkelman, R. L. Gourse, K. S. Murakami, M. Buck, X. Zhang, Structures of the RNA polymerase-σ54 reveal new and conserved regulatory strategies. Science 349, 882–885 (2015). [Abstract][Full Text]

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