Advances in bacterial promoter recognition and its control by factors that do not bind DNA

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2008 Jul;6(7):507-19. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1912. Epub 2008 Jun 3.


Early work identified two promoter regions, the -10 and -35 elements, that interact sequence specifically with bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP). However, we now know that several additional promoter elements contact RNAP and influence transcription initiation. Furthermore, our picture of promoter control has evolved beyond one in which regulation results solely from activators and repressors that bind to DNA sequences near the RNAP binding site: many important transcription factors bind directly to RNAP without binding to DNA. These factors can target promoters by affecting specific kinetic steps on the pathway to open complex formation, thereby regulating RNA output from specific promoters.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • DNA
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases