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Prokaryotic promoters

A promoter    is a DNA sequence onto which the transcription machinery binds and initiates transcription. In most cases, promoters exist upstream of the genes they regulate. The specific sequence of a promoter is very important because it determines whether the corresponding gene is transcribed all the time, some of the time, or infrequently. Although promoters vary among prokaryotic genomes, a few elements are conserved. At the -10 and -35 regions upstream of the initiation site, there are two promoter consensus    sequences, or regions that are similar across all promoters and across various bacterial species ( [link] ). The -10 consensus sequence, called the -10 region, is TATAAT. The -35 sequence, TTGACA, is recognized and bound by σ . Once this interaction is made, the subunits of the core enzyme bind to the site. The A–T-rich -10 region facilitates unwinding of the DNA template, and several phosphodiester bonds are made. The transcription initiation phase ends with the production of abortive transcripts, which are polymers of approximately 10 nucleotides that are made and released.

Illustration shows the σ subunit of RNA polymerase bound to two consensus sequences that are 10 and 35 bases upstream of the transcription start site. RNA polymerase is bound to σ.
The σ subunit of prokaryotic RNA polymerase recognizes consensus sequences found in the promoter region upstream of the transcription start sight. The σ subunit dissociates from the polymerase after transcription has been initiated.

View this MolecularMovies animation to see the first part of transcription and the base sequence repetition of the TATA box.

Elongation and termination in prokaryotes

The transcription elongation phase begins with the release of the σ subunit from the polymerase. The dissociation of σ allows the core enzyme to proceed along the DNA template, synthesizing mRNA in the 5' to 3' direction at a rate of approximately 40 nucleotides per second. As elongation proceeds, the DNA is continuously unwound ahead of the core enzyme and rewound behind it ( [link] ). The base pairing between DNA and RNA is not stable enough to maintain the stability of the mRNA synthesis components. Instead, the RNA polymerase acts as a stable linker between the DNA template and the nascent RNA strands to ensure that elongation is not interrupted prematurely.

Illustration shows RNA synthesis by RNA polymerase. The RNA strand is synthesized in the 5' to 3' direction.
During elongation, the prokaryotic RNA polymerase tracks along the DNA template, synthesizes mRNA in the 5' to 3' direction, and unwinds and rewinds the DNA as it is read.

Prokaryotic termination signals

Once a gene is transcribed, the prokaryotic polymerase needs to be instructed to dissociate from the DNA template and liberate the newly made mRNA. Depending on the gene being transcribed, there are two kinds of termination signals. One is protein-based and the other is RNA-based. Rho-dependent termination    is controlled by the rho protein, which tracks along behind the polymerase on the growing mRNA chain. Near the end of the gene, the polymerase encounters a run of G nucleotides on the DNA template and it stalls. As a result, the rho protein collides with the polymerase. The interaction with rho releases the mRNA from the transcription bubble.

Rho-independent termination is controlled by specific sequences in the DNA template strand. As the polymerase nears the end of the gene being transcribed, it encounters a region rich in C–G nucleotides. The mRNA folds back on itself, and the complementary C–G nucleotides bind together. The result is a stable hairpin    that causes the polymerase to stall as soon as it begins to transcribe a region rich in A–T nucleotides. The complementary U–A region of the mRNA transcript forms only a weak interaction with the template DNA. This, coupled with the stalled polymerase, induces enough instability for the core enzyme to break away and liberate the new mRNA transcript.

Upon termination, the process of transcription is complete. By the time termination occurs, the prokaryotic transcript would already have been used to begin synthesis of numerous copies of the encoded protein because these processes can occur concurrently. The unification of transcription, translation, and even mRNA degradation is possible because all of these processes occur in the same 5' to 3' direction, and because there is no membranous compartmentalization in the prokaryotic cell ( [link] ). In contrast, the presence of a nucleus in eukaryotic cells precludes simultaneous transcription and translation.

Illustration shows multiple mRNAs transcribed off one gene. Ribosomes attach to the mRNA before transcription is complete and begin to make protein.
Multiple polymerases can transcribe a single bacterial gene while numerous ribosomes concurrently translate the mRNA transcripts into polypeptides. In this way, a specific protein can rapidly reach a high concentration in the bacterial cell.

Visit this BioStudio animation to see the process of prokaryotic transcription.

Section summary

In prokaryotes, mRNA synthesis is initiated at a promoter sequence on the DNA template comprising two consensus sequences that recruit RNA polymerase. The prokaryotic polymerase consists of a core enzyme of four protein subunits and a σ protein that assists only with initiation. Elongation synthesizes mRNA in the 5' to 3' direction at a rate of 40 nucleotides per second. Termination liberates the mRNA and occurs either by rho protein interaction or by the formation of an mRNA hairpin.

Questions & Answers

what is a zygote?
Darius Reply
zygote is a eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between two gametes. The zygote's genome is a combination of the DNA in each gamete, and contains all of the genetic information necessary to form a new individual.
MG
how do plants form a zygote
Paclina Reply
What is zygote
Van
what is zygote
Darius
Zygote is located inside the ovule, which is present in the ovary.
MG
zygote is a eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between two gametes. The zygote's genome is a combination of the DNA in each gamete, and contains all of the genetic information necessary to form a new individual.
MG
Okay
Van
what is biology?
Aadan Reply
biology is the study of living n non living organism
Kelsia
what is procotist?
Kelsia
Describe at least two major changes to the animal phylogenetic tree that have come about due to molecular or genetic findings.
Tamala Reply
what is herbarium sheet
Ramreichon Reply
general equation for photosynthesis
Ojasope Reply
6CO2 + 6H2O + solar energy= C6H1206+ 6O2
Anastasiya
meaning of amino Acids
AJAYI Reply
An aminoacid is a base unit molecule for proteins. It s formed by a central Carbon, to which are attached: an amminic Group, a carbossilic Group, an H hydrogen, and an R group ( which varies for each different aminoacid). Glycin is the only aminoacid to have for an R group a simple H hydrogen.
Anastasiya
H NH2-C-COOH R this is the not ionized form but usually they are ionized, with NH+ and COO-
Anastasiya
The R group, the lateral Chain, is responsible for the characteristics of the aminoacid.
Anastasiya
* NH2+
Anastasiya
J=1 jar daq
Van
a diagram of an adult mosquito
mubarak Reply
what are white blood cells
Mlungisi Reply
white blood cell is part of the immune system. that help fight the infection.
MG
what about tissue celss
Mlungisi
Cells with a similar function, form a tissue. For example the nervous tissue is composed by cells:neurons and glia cells. Muscle tissue, is composed by different cells.
Anastasiya
I need further explanation coz celewi anything guys,,,
Calvin Reply
hey guys
Isala
on what?
Anastasiya
hie
Lish
Yes
ANDY
Please define mitosis for me
Juliet
mitosis is a process where a single cell divides into two identical daughter cells(cell division)
Sani
Kk
Juliet
yes
Sani
What about meiosis
Juliet
Meiosis is a process that produces gametes. From a single cell, 4 daughter cells (gametes) are formed.
Anastasiya
What is a tissue respiration
Juliet
is air homogenous or hetrogenous
damiane Reply
homogenous
Kevin
why saying homogenous?
Isala
explain if oxygen is necessary for photosynthesis
Allice Reply
explain if oxygen is necessary for photosynthesis
Allice Reply
Yes, the plant does need oxygen. The plant uses oxygen, water, light, and produced food. The plant use process called photosynthesis.
MG
By using the energy of sunlight, plants convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen by photosynthesis. This happens during the day and sunlight is needed.
NOBLE
no. it s a product of the process
Anastasiya
yet still is it needed?
NOBLE
no. The reaction is: 6CO2+6H20+ solar energy =C6H12O6(glucose)+602. The plant requires Carbon dioxyde, light, and water Only, and produces glucose and oxygen( which is a waste).
Anastasiya
what was the question
NOBLE Reply
joining
Godfrey
the specific one
NOBLE
the study of non and living organism is called.
Godfrey
Is call biology
Alohan
yeah
NOBLE
yes
Usher
what Is ecology
Musonda Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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