Conformational Alteration of mRNA Structure and the Posttranscriptional Regulation of Erythromycin-Induced Drug Resistance

Nucleic Acids Res. 1980 Dec 20;8(24):6081-97. doi: 10.1093/nar/8.24.6081.


The DNA sequence of the ermC gene of plasmid pE194 is presented. This determinant is responsible for erythromycin-induced resistance to the macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B group of antibiotics and specifies a 29,000 dalton inducible protein. The locations of the ermC promoter, as well as that of a probable transcriptional terminator, are established both from the sequence and by transcription mapping. The sequence contains an open reading frame sufficient to encode the previously identified 29,000 dalton ermC protein. Between the promoter and the putative ATG start codon is a 141 base pair leader sequence, within which several regulatory (constitutive) mutations have been mapped and sequenced. The leader has a second open reading frame, sufficient to encode a 19 amino acid peptide. It is suggested that induction by erythromycin involves a shift between alternative ribosome-bound mRNA conformations, so that the ribosome binding sequence and the start codon for synthesis of the 29K protein are unmasked in the presence of inducer. Possible active and inactive folded configuration of the leader sequence are presented, as well as the effects on these configurations of regulatory mutations.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Bacterial*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial*
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Mutation
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation / drug effects
  • Plasmids
  • RNA, Bacterial*
  • RNA, Messenger*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Erythromycin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J01755
  • GENBANK/J01756
  • GENBANK/J01757
  • GENBANK/J01758