Effects of DNA Supercoiling on Gene Expression

  • James C. Wang
  • A. Simon Lynch


It is well known that open complex formation between promoters and RNA polymerase is thermodynamically favored by negative su-percoiling of the DNA template. The effects of template supercoiling on the kinetics of transcription are, however, much more complex even in simple cases involving no regulatory factors; a priori predictions of such effects are at best tenuous. In this chapter, we focus on insights gained from experimental data accumulated in the past two decades on how template supercoiling and transcription affect each other. We begin with a review of the historical link between DNA supercoiling and transcription. This introduction is followed by a brief account of how gene expression is affected upon decreasing the cellular level of gyrase, a DNA topoisomerase that negatively supercoils DNA, or DNA topoisomerase I, an enzyme that specifically relaxes negatively super-coiled DNA. Mechanistic considerations are then presented for several cases of increasing complexity: from the simplest case in which the rate of transcription is determined by that of open complex formation between RNA polymerase and promoter, to cases involving regulatory and auxiliary DNA binding proteins, and finally to cases in which the rate of transcription is determined by a step that occurs after open complex formation.


cAMP Receptor Protein Integration Host Factor Catabolite Activator Protein Open Complex Formation Gyrase Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© R.G. Landes Company 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C. Wang
  • A. Simon Lynch

There are no affiliations available

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