Transcription antitermination by phage lambda gene Q protein requires a DNA segment spanning the RNA start site.

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The gene Q protein of phage lambda is a transcription antiterminator that modifies RNA polymerase near the phage late gene promoter and thereby causes antitermination at distant sites. To define the site of action of Q protein, we have reconstructed the regulatory system on plasmids that allow the intracellular concentration of Q protein to be regulated, and that allow the effect of Q protein on transcription from variant promoter segments to be measured in vivo and in vitro. We show that DNA sequences essential for Q protein-mediated antitermination span the RNA start site, but do not extend beyond nucleotide 18 of the late RNA coding region. We also show that the modification that permits antitermination persists while RNA polymerase passes at least two terminators in vivo and in vitro.

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Genes & development

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