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Distinct pathways of RNA polymerase regulation by a phage-encoded factor

Esyunina, Daria, Klimuk, Evgeny, Severinov, Konstantin, Kulbachinskiy, Andrey
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2015 v.112 no.7 pp. 2017-2022
DNA-directed RNA polymerase, bacteria, eukaryotic cells, gene expression, viruses
Transcription antitermination is a common strategy of gene expression regulation, but only a few transcription antitermination factors have been studied in detail. Here, we dissect the transcription antitermination mechanism of Xanthomonas oryzae virus Xp10 protein p7, which binds host RNA polymerase (RNAP) and regulates both transcription initiation and termination. We show that p7 suppresses intrinsic termination by decreasing RNAP pausing and increasing the transcription complex stability, in cooperation with host-encoded factor NusA. Uniquely, the antitermination activity of p7 depends on the ω subunit of the RNAP core and is modulated by ppGpp. In contrast, the inhibition of transcription initiation by p7 does not require ω but depends on other RNAP sites. Our results suggest that p7, a bifunctional transcription factor, uses distinct mechanisms to control different steps of transcription. We propose that regulatory functions of the ω subunit revealed by our analysis may extend to its homologs in eukaryotic RNAPs.