Position effects on promoter activity in Escherichia coli and their consequences for antibiotic-resistance determinants

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham
  • Department of Life Sciences, School of Health Sciences, Birmingham City University, Birmingham B15 3TN, U.K.


The activity of any bacterial promoter is generally supposed to be set by its base sequence and the different transcription factors that bind in the local vicinity. Here, we review recent data indicating that the activity of the Escherichia coli lac operon promoter also depends upon its chromosomal location. Factors that affect promoter activity include the binding of nucleoid-associated proteins to neighbouring sequences, supercoiling and the activity of neighbouring promoters. We suggest that many bacterial promoters might be susceptible to similar position-dependent effects and we review recent data showing that the expression of mobile genes encoding antibiotic-resistance determinants is also location-dependent, both when carried on a bacterial chromosome or a conjugative plasmid.

Bibliographic note

© 2019 The Author(s). Published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-845
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue number3
Early online date12 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas