Activation and repression of E. coli promoters

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1996 Oct;6(5):526-30. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(96)80079-7.


There is no organism in which transcription initiation is better understood than Escherichia coli. Recent studies using genetics, biochemistry and structure analysis have revealed how RNA polymerase interactions at promoters are regulated. Prominent examples include the recruitment of polymerase by activators touching its alpha and sigma subunits; which subunit is touched depends on which activator is used and where it binds the DNA. The less-common cases centering on enhancer-dependent transcription use an entirely different mechanism, involving either DNA looping or tracking.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Repressor Proteins
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases