Bacteriophage P1 tail-fibre and dar operons are expressed from homologous phage-specific late promoter sequences

Angelo Guidolin, Jean Marc Zingg, Hansjörg Lehnherr, Werner Arber

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9 Scopus citations


Two plasmid systems, containing the easily assayable galK and lacZ functions, were employed to study the regulation of the bacteriophage P1 tail-fibre and dar operons. Various P1 DNA fragments carrying either the 5′ end of lydA (the 1st gene in the dar operon) or the tail-fibre gene 19 precede the promoterless coding region of galK or were fused, in-frame, to the lacZ gene. In the presence of an induced P1 prophage, GalK and LacZ activities were both detected after a 20 to 30 minute lag period, indicating that the dar and tail-fibre operons are expressed from positively regulated, late promoters. The corresponding DNA region of the closely related p15B plasmid exhibits comparable promoter properties. Deletion analysis mapped the promoter of a gene 19-lacZ fusion to a DNA region upstream from gene R, an open reading frame that precedes the coding frame of gene 19. The tail-fibre gene thus forms the second gene in a three gene operon (genes R, 19 (S) and U). Sequence comparison between this promoter region, upstream sequences of the lydA gene and the corresponding portions of the p15B genome allowed the identification of a highly conserved 38 base-pair sequence, which most likely represents a P1-specific late promoter. This was confirmed by 5′ mapping of P1 mRNA. Transcription of both the tail-fibre and dar operons is initiated at sites five and six base-pairs, respectively, downstream from the first conserved nucleotide of this sequence. The conserved motif consists of a standard Escherichia coli -10 region followed by a nine base-pair palindromic sequence located centrally about position -22.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-622
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 20 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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