New Control Elements of Bacteriophage T4 Pre-Replicative Transcription

J Mol Biol. 1985 Mar 20;182(2):249-63. doi: 10.1016/0022-2836(85)90343-2.


Bacteriophage T4 pre-replicative genes are transcribed, by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase, in two alternative modes: an early mode and a middle mode. Middle mode transcription is under the control of at least one viral protein, pmotA. We have identified two additional viral genes, motB and motC, that map in the dispensable region of the T4 genome, between genes 39 and 56. pmotB and pmotC are diffusible factors which provide an alternative to the motA dependent mode of middle transcription of many T4 genes. Deletions of motB and motC are in fact lethal only in combination with a motA mutant. motB controls one of the alternative modes of transcription of the rIIA gene. When motA or motB are missing, transcription of rIIA is quantitatively unaffected; when both are missing the transcription rate drops by about 75%. Control of transcription of the tRNA gene cluster is more complex. Transcription of subcluster 2 is maximally reduced (70%) only by deletions that, besides motB, cut out an adjacent region. We guess that this adjacent region codes for an additional control element, which we call motC. The motB gene is situated in a 750-base region between the left end-points of del(39-56)-1 and -4.

MeSH terms

  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Mutation
  • RNA, Transfer / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • T-Phages / genetics*
  • T-Phages / growth & development
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Viral Proteins / biosynthesis


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins
  • RNA, Transfer