Escherichia coli protein synthesis initiation factor IF3 controls its own gene expression at the translational level in vivo

J Mol Biol. 1986 Dec 20;192(4):767-80. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(86)90027-6.


Measurements of the relative synthesis rates of mRNAs transcribed from the gene (thrS) for threonyl-tRNA synthetase and the adjacent gene (infC) for initiation factor IF3 show four- to fivefold more infC mRNA than thrS mRNA in vivo, suggesting that infC expression can be controlled independently of thrS expression. S1 mapping experiments reveal the existence of two transcription initiation sites for infC mRNAs internal to the thrS structural gene. Both the mRNA measurements and the S1 mapping experiments indicate that the majority of infC transcription initiates at the infC proximal promoter. In agreement with these results, the deletion of the infC distal promoter from infC-lacZ gene fusions does not affect the expression of these gene fusions in vivo. Measurements of the relative synthesis rate of infC mRNA in vivo in infC- strains overproducing IF3 shows that infC mRNA levels are normal in these strains, thus suggesting that IF3 regulates the translation of infC mRNAs in vivo. Extension of these experiments using infC-lacZ gene fusions carried on lambda bacteriophage and integrated at the lambda att site on the Escherichia coli chromosome shows that the expression of infC-lacZ protein fusions, but not infC-lacZ operon fusions, is derepressed in two infC- strains. A cellular excess of IF3 represses the expression of an infC-lacZ protein fusion but not an infC-lacZ operon fusion. Measurements of the relative mRNA synthesis rates of hybrid infC-lacZ mRNA synthesized from an infC-lacZ protein fusion under conditions of a fourfold derepression or a threefold repression of hybrid IF3-beta-galactosidase expression shows that the hybrid infC-lacZ mRNA levels remain unchanged. These results indicate that the cellular levels of IF3 negatively regulate the expression of its own gene, infC, at the translational level in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Peptide Initiation Factors / genetics*
  • Plasmids
  • Prokaryotic Initiation Factor-3
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Bacterial / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Threonine-tRNA Ligase / genetics
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Peptide Initiation Factors
  • Prokaryotic Initiation Factor-3
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • beta-Galactosidase
  • Threonine-tRNA Ligase