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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Genome analysis of Escherichia coli promoter sequences evidences that DNA static curvature plays a more important role in gene transcription than has previously been anticipated.

We have performed a computer analysis to study the prevalence of DNA static curvature in the regulatory regions of Escherichia coli, detecting a large number of operons with curved DNA fragments in their 5' upstream regions. A statistical analysis reveals that all the global transcription factors identified so far in E. coli have a tendency to regulate operons with curved DNA sequences in their upstream regions. In addition to these global regulators, we also found that the PurR, ArgR, FruR, TyrR, and CytR specific regulators present a similar propensity. Interestingly, for these cases we found no previous reference describing a possible relationship with curved DNA regions. To validate our theoretical results, we performed site-directed mutagenesis to reduce the degree of DNA curvature in the regulatory sequences of the aroG, pyrC, and argCBH operons. The effects of these changes were measured by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis assays and further evaluated in vivo by transcriptional fusions to a reporter gene. All our results point toward a more widespread role of curved DNA in gene transcription, a fact that has previously been underestimated.[1]


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