Prokaryotic transcription has been extensively studied over the past half a century. However, there often exists a gap between the structural, mechanistic description of transcription obtained from in vitro biochemical studies, and the cellular, phenomenological observations from in vivo genetic studies. It is now accepted that a living bacterial cell is a complex entity; the heterogeneous cellular environment is drastically different from the homogenous, well-mixed situation in vitro. Where molecules are inside a cell may be important for their function; hence, the spatial organization of different molecular components may provide a new means of transcription regulation in vivo, possibly bridging this gap. In this review, we survey current evidence for the spatial organization of four major components of transcription [genes, transcription factors, RNA polymerase (RNAP) and RNAs] and critically analyze their biological significance.
Keywords: RNA polymerase; chromosome conformation capture; prokaryotic transcription; single molecule; spatial organization; transcription factors.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.