Details of the mechanism of DNA replication in the slow growing pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) are unknown. The dnaA and dnaN gene products are essential for chromosome replication and growth of a bacterium. Here we analyzed the transcriptional activity at the oriC locus in M. tb that includes dnaA, dnaN and recF. dnaA and dnaN are each transcribed from a transcription start point (TSP) located at -261 bp and -113 bp, respectively. recF is co-transcribed with dnaN and both genes are co-induced in stationary phase cultures of M. tb. Transcription was also observed inside the oriC region and leftward transcription predominated over rightward transcription. The transcriptional activity of dnaA, dnaN and recF genes was found to be unchanged under all the stress conditions that were examined except during hypoxia when a ∼2-fold decrease in dnaA and dnaN transcription was observed. This analysis of transcription at the oriC locus would be useful for future studies to assess the link if any between transcription at this locus and DNA replication.
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