Positive supercoiling of DNA greatly diminishes mRNA synthesis in yeast

M. R. Gartenberg, J. C. Wang

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In Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells harboring a GAL1 promoter-linked β- galactosidase gene, the simultaneous expression of Escherichia coli DNA topoisomerase I and inactivation of yeast DNA topoisomerases I and II reduces the cellular level of β-galactosidase to an undetectable level. Analysis of intracellular mRNA level and the density of RNA polymerase along DNA indicates that this reduction is due to the suppression of transcription and that both plasmid-borne and chromosomally located genes are affected. These results are interpreted in terms of inhibition of transcription in vivo due to positive supercoiling of the DNA template: preferential removal of transcription-generated negative supercoils by E. coli DNA topoisomerase I in the absence of both yeast DNA topoisomerases I and II results in the accumulation of positive supercoils in intracellular DNA. In normal prokaryotic or eukaryotic cells, accumulation of positive supercoils is presumably avoided through the balanced actions of DNA topoisomerases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11461-11465
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • DNA topoisomerases
  • DNA topology
  • transcription


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