Region 1.2 of the RNA polymerase σ subunit controls recognition of the -10 promoter element

Nikolay Zenkin, Andrey Kulbachinskiy, Yuliya Yuzenkova, Arkady Mustaev, Irina Bass, Konstantin Severinov, Konstantin Brodolin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Recognition of the -10 promoter consensus element by region 2 of the bacterial RNA polymerase σ subunit is a key step in transcription initiation. σ also functions as an elongation factor, inducing transcription pausing by interacting with transcribed DNA non-template strand sequences that are similar to the -10 element sequence. Here, we show that the region 1.2 of Escherichia coli σ70, whose function was heretofore unknown, is strictly required for efficient recognition of the non-template strand of -10-like pause-inducing DNA sequence by σ region 2, and for σ-dependent promoter-proximal pausing. Recognition of the fork-junction promoter DNA by RNA polymerase holoenzyme also requires σ region 1.2 and thus resembles the pause-inducing sequence recognition. Our results, together with available structural data, support a model where σ region 1.2 acts as a core RNA polymerase-dependent allosteric switch that modulates non-template DNA strand recognition by σ region 2 during transcription initiation and elongation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-964
Number of pages10
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Formaldehyde crosslinking
  • Promoter melting
  • RNA polymerase
  • Sigma70 region 1.2
  • Transcription pausing


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