The chloroplast transcription apparatus from mustard (Sinapis alba L.)

Evidence for three different transcription factors which resemble bacterial σ factors


Correspondence to G. Link, University of Bochum, Plant Cell Physiology, P.O. Box 102148, W-4630 Bochum 1, Federal Republic of Germany


A chloroplast protein fraction with σ-like activity [Bülow, S. & Link, G. (1988) Plant Mol. Biol. 10, 349–357], was further purified and characterized. Chromatography on heparin-Sepharose, DEAE-Sepharose and Sephacryl S-300 led to the separation of three σ-like factors (SLF) polypeptides with Mr 67000 (SLF67), 52000 (SLF52) and 29000 (SLF29). None of these polypeptides bind to DNA itself, but each one confers enhanced binding and transcriptional activity when added to Escherichia coli RNA-polymerase core enzyme and DNA fragments carrying a chloroplast promoter. SLF67, SLF52, and SLF29 differ in their ionic-strength requirements for activity. They each mediate the binding to promoters of the chloroplast genes psbA, trnQ, and rps16, with different efficiencies. It is suggested that chloroplast transcription in vivo might be controlled at least in part by these functionally distinct factors.

psbA, rps16, trnQ

chloroplast genes encoding the Mr 32000 herbicide-binding QB protein of photosystem II, ribosomal protein CS16, and tRNAGln(UUU), respectively


σ-like factor


DNA-dependent RNA polymerase or nucleoside-triphosphate:RNA nucleotidyltransferase (EC


large fragment (Klenow fragment) of Escherichia coli DNA polymerase I (EC


restriction endonucleases EcoRI and HindIII (EC–5)