An intrinsic DNA curvature found in the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa K-81 affects the promoter activity of rpoD1 encoding a principal sigma factor

Munehiko Asayama, Youji Hayasaka, Mamiko Kabasawa, Makoto Shirai, Takashi Ohyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)


The rpoD1 gene in the unicellular cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa K-81 encodes a principal sigma factor of RNA polymerase and is transcribed under light and dark conditions to produce multiple monocistronic transcripts. In the 5'-upstream region from rpoD1 Promoter 2, which has a sequence of Escherichia coli type, we found a sequence-directed DNA curvature with an AT-rich sequence. Insertions of 2 to 21 base pairs introduced into the curved center changed a gross geometry of the original curved DNA structure. The rpoD1 promoter activities assayed in vivo by using transcriptional lacZ fusions were correlated with the change in the gross geometry in not only a cyanobacterium but also E. coli. In addition, RNA polymerase binding to the rpoD1 promoter region and the efficiency of the mRNA synthesis from the rpoD1 Promoter 2 were also affected in vitro by the change in the geometry. These results suggest that the tertiary structure of the curved DNA is important for the rpoD1 transcription. The deletion of the center region of the curvature resulted in a considerable reduction of the transcription from Promoter 2 in the cyanobacterium. This report demonstrates that a curved DNA plays a significant role in transcription in cyanobacteria, and that this functional curvature is located in the 5'-upstream region from the rpoD gene, which encodes a principal sigma factor in eubacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-468
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of biochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1



  • Bent DNA
  • Cyanobacteria
  • RNA polymerase
  • Transcription
  • rpoD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this