Transcriptional activation of bacteriophage T4 middle promoters by the motA protein

J Mol Biol. 1988 Jan 20;199(2):241-58. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(88)90311-7.


Transcriptional activation of middle genes in bacteriophage T4 requires the phage-encoded motA protein. Many middle genes are involved in deoxyribonucleotide biosynthesis and phage DNA replication. In the absence of motA, the gene products that are required for DNA synthesis are transcribed from other, upstream promoters. Using primer extension sequencing on RNA templates isolated from T4 motA+ and motA- infected cells, we have characterized 14 motA-dependent transcripts. The T4 middle promoters have a consensus sequence of nine base-pairs, (a/t)(a/t)TGCTT(t/c)A, spaced 11 to 13 nucleotides away from the Escherichia coli--10 consensus sequence, TAnnnT. The motA protein also can act as a transcriptional repressor for at least one early gene. Furthermore, the phage-encoded motA protein can activate in trans a middle promoter resident on a plasmid.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • RNA Caps
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • T-Phages / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Viral Proteins / genetics*


  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA Caps
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Viral
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Viral Proteins