ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0548.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: promoter sequences; repetitive sequences; pausing; abortive initiation; RNA polymerase; dsDNA rigidity
Online: 25 August 2020 (11:28:21 CEST)
In the process of transcription initiation by RNA polymerase, promoter DNA sequences affect multiple reaction pathways determining the productivity of transcription. However, the question of how the molecular mechanism of transcription initiation depends on sequence properties of promoter DNA remains poorly understood. Here, combining the statistical mechanical approach with high-throughput sequencing results, we characterize abortive transcription and pausing during transcription initiation by Escherichia coli RNA polymerase at a genome-wide level. Our results suggest that initially transcribed sequences enriched with thymine bases represent the signal inducing abortive transcription. On the other hand, certain repetitive sequence elements broadly embedded in promoter regions constitute the signal inducing pausing. Both signals decrease the productivity of transcription initiation. Based on solution NMR and in vitro transcription measurements, we also suggest that repetitive sequence elements of promoter DNA modulate the rigidity of its double-stranded form, which profoundly influences the reaction coordinates of the productive initiation via pausing.