Repression of bacteriophage promoters by DNA and RNA oligonucleotides

John U. Skoog, L. James maher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


We are Interested in creating artificial gene repressors based on duplex DNA recognition by nucleic acids rather than polypeptides. An in vitro model system Involving repression of bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase initiation has been employed to demonstrate that certain DNA oligonucleotides can repress transcription by site-specific trlple-hellx formation at two kinds of homopurlne operator sequences [Maher, L. J., Ill, (1992) Biochemistry 31, 7587-7594]. Recognition in the purine motif is based on antiparallel oligonucleotide binding (G.G.C and T.A.T triplets). Recognition In the pyrlmldlne motif is based on parallel oligonucleotide binding (C+.G.C and T.A.T base triplets). Using this system, we report that the concentration-dependence of repression by DNA oligonucleotides provides trlple-helix Inhibition constant (Ki) estimates of approximately 2 × 10-7 M for both purine motif and pyrimidine motif DNA complexes. RNA oligonucleotides are shown to repress promoters overlapping pyrimidine motif operators {K, = 6 × 10-7 M), but not purine motif operators. Although competent to hybridize to complementary single strands, RNA oligonucleotides fall to bind the purine motif operator. Partial substitution of deoxyribose residues tends to rescue repressor activity by RNA oligonucleotides In the purine motif. These results suggest prospects for, and constraints on, natural and artificial RNA-based repressors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2131-2138
Number of pages8
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 11 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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