The mRNA for the 23S rRNA Methylase Encoded by the ermE Gene of Saccharopolyspora Erythraea Is Translated in the Absence of a Conventional Ribosome-Binding Site

Mol Microbiol. 1994 Nov;14(3):533-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.1994.tb02187.x.


Transcriptional analysis of the ermE gene of Saccharopolyspora erythraea, which confers resistance to erythromycin by N6-dimethylation of 23S rRNA and which is expressed from two promoters, ermEp1 and ermEp2, revealed a complex regulatory region in which transcription is initiated in a divergent and overlapping manner. Two promoters (eryC1p1 and eryC1p2) were identified for the divergently transcribed erythromycin biosynthetic gene eryC1, which plays a role in the formation of desosamine or its attachment to the macrolide ring. Transcription from eryC1p2 starts at the same position as that of ermEp1, but on the opposite strand of the DNA helix, suggesting co-ordinate regulation of genes for erythromycin production and resistance. ermEp1 initiates transcription at, and one nucleotide before, the ermE translational start codon. Site-directed and deletion mutagenesis, combined with immunochemical analysis, demonstrated that the ermEp1 transcript is translated in the absence of a conventional ribosome-binding site to give rise to the full-length 23S rRNA methylase. Deletion of the -35 region of ermEp1 reduced, but did not abolish, promoter activity, reminiscent of the 'extended -10' class of bacterial promoters which, like ermEp1, possess TGN motifs immediately upstream of their -10 regions and which initiate transcription seven nucleotides downstream of the -10 region.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Codon / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics
  • Erythromycin / pharmacology
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Methyltransferases / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Ribosomes / metabolism
  • Saccharopolyspora / drug effects
  • Saccharopolyspora / enzymology*
  • Saccharopolyspora / genetics*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Codon
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Erythromycin
  • Methyltransferases
  • rRNA (adenosine-O-2'-)methyltransferase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M11200