Transcription regulatory elements are punctuation marks for DNA replication

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 May 9;103(19):7276-81. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0601127103. Epub 2006 May 2.


Collisions between DNA replication and transcription significantly affect genome organization, regulation, and stability. Previous studies have described collisions between replication forks and elongating RNA polymerases. Although replication collisions with the transcription-initiation or -termination complexes are potentially even more important because most genes are not actively transcribed during DNA replication, their existence and mechanisms remained unproven. To address this matter, we have designed a bacterial promoter that binds RNA polymerase and maintains it in the initiating mode by precluding the transition into the elongation mode. By using electrophoretic analysis of replication intermediates, we have found that this steadfast transcription-initiation complex inhibits replication fork progression in an orientation-dependent manner during head-on collisions. Transcription terminators also appeared to attenuate DNA replication, but in the opposite, codirectional orientation. Thus, transcription regulatory signals may serve as "punctuation marks" for DNA replication in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • AT Rich Sequence
  • Codon, Initiator / genetics
  • Codon, Terminator / genetics
  • DNA Replication / genetics*
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Regulatory Elements, Transcriptional / genetics*


  • Codon, Initiator
  • Codon, Terminator
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases