NTP-sensing by rRNA promoters in Escherichia coli is direct

Academic Article


  • We showed previously that rrn P1 promoters require unusually high concentrations of the initiating nucleoside triphosphates (ATP or GTP, depending on the promoter) for maximal transcription in vitro. We proposed that this requirement for high initiating NTP concentrations contributes to control of the rrn P1 promoters from the seven Escherichia coli rRNA operons. However, the previous studies did not prove that variation in NTP concentration affects rrn P1 promoter activity directly in vivo. Here, we create conditions in vivo in which ATP and GTP concentrations are altered in opposite directions relative to one another, and we show that transcription from rrn P1 promoters that initiate with either ATP or GTP follows the concentration of the initiating NTP for that promoter. These results demonstrate that the effect of initiating NTP concentration on rrn P1 promoter activity in vivo is direct. As predicted by a model in which homeostatic control of rRNA transcription results, at least in part, from sensing of NTP concentrations by rrn P1 promoters, we show that inhibition of protein synthesis results in an increase in ATP concentration and a corresponding increase in transcription from rrnB P1. We conclude that translation is a major consumer of purine NTPs, and that NTP-sensing by rrn P1 promoters serves as a direct regulatory link between translation and ribosome synthesis.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schneider DA; Gaal T; Gourse RL
  • Start Page

  • 8602
  • End Page

  • 8607
  • Volume

  • 99
  • Issue

  • 13