Hyper-negative template DNA supercoiling during transcription of the tetracycline-resistance gene in topA mutants is largely constrained in vivo

Abstract : The excess linking deficit of plasmid DNA from topoisomerase I-defective bacteria (topA mutants) results mainly from transcription and is commonly ascribed to unbalanced relaxation of transcription-induced twin-supercoiled domains. This defect is aggravated in genes for membrane-binding proteins (such as the tet gene) where anchoring of the transcription complex to the bacterial membrane is thought to enhance twin-domain partitioning. Thus, it is often assumed that the 'hyper-negative' linking difference of plasmid DNA from topA mutants reflects unconstrained, hyper-negative DNA supercoiling inside the cell. We tested the validity of this assumption in the present study. A DNA sequence that undergoes a gradual B to Z transition under increasing negative superhelical tension was used as a sensor of unconstrained negative supercoiling. Z-DNA formation was probed at a site upstream from the inducible pTac promoter fused either to the tet gene or to the gene for cytosolic chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (cat). Although plasmid DNA linking deficit increased more extensively in topA mutants following tet activation than following cat activation, no significant differences were observed in the extents to which the B to Z DNA transition is stimulated in the two cases. We infer that the excess linking deficit of the tet-containing plasmid DNA reflects constrained negative DNA supercoiling inside the cell.
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A. Albert, F Spirito, N Bossi, L Bossi, A. Rachid Rahmouni. Hyper-negative template DNA supercoiling during transcription of the tetracycline-resistance gene in topA mutants is largely constrained in vivo. Nucleic Acids Research, Oxford University Press, 1996, 24 (15), pp.3093-3099. ⟨10.1093/nar/24.15.3093⟩. ⟨hal-02127221⟩

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