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A novel bipartite antitermination system widespread in conjugative elements of Gram-positive bacteria

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ling Juan Wu



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.Transcriptional regulation allows adaptive and coordinated gene expression, and is essential for life. Processive antitermination systems alter the transcription elongation complex to allow the RNA polymerase to read through multiple terminators in an operon. Here, we describe the discovery of a novel bipartite antitermination system that is widespread among conjugative elements from Gram-positive bacteria, which we named conAn. This system is composed of a large RNA element that exerts antitermination, and a protein that functions as a processivity factor. Besides allowing coordinated expression of very long operons, we show that these systems allow differential expression of genes within an operon, and probably contribute to strict regulation of the conjugation genes by minimizing the effects of spurious transcription. Mechanistic features of the conAn system are likely to decisively influence its host range, with important implications for the spread of antibiotic resistance and virulence genes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Miguel-Arribas A, Val-Calvo J, Gago-Cordoba C, Izquierdo JM, Abia D, Wu LJ, Errington J, Meijer WJJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nucleic acids research

Year: 2021

Volume: 49

Issue: 10

Pages: 5553-5567

Print publication date: 04/06/2021

Online publication date: 17/05/2021

Acceptance date: 23/04/2021

Date deposited: 28/06/2021

ISSN (print): 1362-4962

ISSN (electronic): 0305-1048

Publisher: Oxford University Press


DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkab360

PubMed id: 33999173


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