Promoter-proximal elongation regulates transcription in archaea

Fabian Blombach, Thomas Fouqueau, Dorota Matelska, Katherine Smollett, Finn Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recruitment of RNA polymerase and initiation factors to the promoter is the only known target for transcription activation and repression in archaea. Whether any of the subsequent steps towards productive transcription elongation are involved in regulation is not known. We characterised how the basal transcription machinery is distributed along genes in the archaeon Saccharolobus solfataricus. We discovered a distinct early elongation phase where RNA polymerases sequentially recruit the elongation factors Spt4/5 and Elf1 to form the transcription elongation complex (TEC) before the TEC escapes into productive transcription. TEC escape is rate-limiting for transcription output during exponential growth. Oxidative stress causes changes in TEC escape that correlate with changes in the transcriptome. Our results thus establish that TEC escape contributes to the basal promoter strength and facilitates transcription regulation. Impaired TEC escape coincides with the accumulation of initiation factors at the promoter and recruitment of termination factor aCPSF1 to the early TEC. This suggests two possible mechanisms for how TEC escape limits transcription, physically blocking upstream RNA polymerases during transcription initiation and premature termination of early TECs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5524
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • next-generation sequencing
  • systems analysis
  • archaeal biology
  • transcription


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