Detection of transcription-pausing in vivo in the trp operon leader region

R. Landick, J. Carey, C. Yanofsky

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26 Scopus citations


To determine whether RNA polymerase pauses during transcription in vivo, we have examined transcripts of the trp operon leader regions of Serratia marcescens and Escherichia coli. Labeled RNAs synthesized in E. coli strains containing plasmids bearing wild-type or mutant trp leader regions of S. marcescens or E. coli were isolated by hybridization and analyzed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. The labeled RNAs synthesized in vivo on the S. marcescens wild-type and deletion mutant plasmids were the same size as the in vitro pause and leader transcripts. Hybridization of the presumed in vivo pause RNAs, and control in vitro pause RNAs, to M13 phage DNA containing a trp leader region deletion followed by treatment with S1 nuclease produced identical protected RNA species, proving that the in vitro and in vivo RNAs were identical. The amount of labeled pause RNAs relative to leader RNAs decreased following a chase with unlabeled uridine. E. coli RNAs identical to the previously characterized in vitro pause and leader transcripts were demonstrated by electrophoretic band position and fingerprint analysis. The finding that transcription pausing occurs in vivo is consistent with the view that transcription pausing and ribosome release of paused transcription complexes are responsible for the coupling of translation with transcription that is crucial to attenuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1507-1511
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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