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The Tn10-encoded Tet repressor blocks early but not late steps of assembly of the RNA polymerase II initiation complex in vivo

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We have studied the effect of the Tn10-encoded Tet repressor on expression from 13 cauliflower mosaic virus (CaMV) 35S promoter derivatives that contain a tet operator sequence in various positions downstream of the TATAbox. When the operator sequence was inserted less than 33 by away from the TATAbox (position + 9 with respect to the transcription start site), the repressor interfered with transcription, whereas increasing the distance to 35 by (position + 11) abolished repression. This result indicates that initiation of transcription from the CaMV 35S promoter occurs in at least two different steps: (1) binding of transcription factors, involving sequences extending to position + 9; this step can be inhibited by binding of the Tet repressor protein; and (2) initiation of transcription from this complex, which is not affected by the repressor protein. We suggest that the Tet repressor can be used to investigate whether transcription conditions in vitro truly reflect the in vivo situation.

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Correspondence to Christiane Gatz.

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Communicated by E.K.F. Bautz

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Heins, L., Frohberg, C. & Gatz, C. The Tn10-encoded Tet repressor blocks early but not late steps of assembly of the RNA polymerase II initiation complex in vivo. Molec. Gen. Genet. 232, 328–331 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00280013

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Key words

  • CaMV 35S promoter
  • Tet repressor
  • Transcription initiation