Bacterial σ factors combine with the catalytic core RNA polymerase to direct the process of transcription initiation through sequence-specific interactions with the -10 and -35 elements of promoter DNA. In the absence of core RNA polymerase, the DNA-binding function of σ is autoinhibited by its own N-terminal 90 amino acids (region 1.1), putatively by a direct interaction with conserved region 4.2, which binds the -35 promoter element. In the present work, this mechanism of autoinhibition was studied by using a combination of NMR spectroscopy and segmental isotopic labeling of a σ70-like subunit from Thermotoga maritima. Our data argue strongly against a high-affinity interaction between these two domains. Instead we suggest that autoinhibition of DNA binding occurs through an indirect steric and/or electrostatic mechanism. More generally, the present work illustrates the power of segmental isotopic labeling for probing molecular interactions in large proteins by NMR.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Jun 25 2002
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