The distribution of RNA polymerase in Escherichia coli is dynamic and sensitive to environmental cues

Authors

  • Julio E. Cabrera,

    1. Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
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  • Ding J. Jin

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
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    • Present address: Gene Regulation and Chromosome Biology Laboratory, NCL-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


Summary

Despite extensive genetic, biochemical and structural studies on Escherichia coli RNA polymerase (RNAP), little is known about its location and distribution in response to environmental changes. To visualize the RNAP by fluorescence microscopy in E. coli under different physiological conditions, we constructed a functional rpoC–gfp gene fusion on the chromosome. We show that, although RNAP is located in the nucleoid and at its periphery, the distribution of RNAP is dynamic and dramatically influenced by cell growth conditions, nutrient starvation and overall transcription activity inside the cell. Moreover, mutational analysis suggests that the stable RNA synthesis plays an important role in nucleoid condensation.

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