Unusually Situated Binding Sites for Bacterial Transcription Factors Can Have Hidden Functionality

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Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Institute of Microbiology and Infection, School of Biosciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


A commonly accepted paradigm of molecular biology is that transcription factors control gene expression by binding sites at the 5' end of a gene. However, there is growing evidence that transcription factor targets can occur within genes or between convergent genes. In this work, we have investigated one such target for the cyclic AMP receptor protein (CRP) of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. We show that CRP binds between two convergent genes. When bound, CRP regulates transcription of a small open reading frame, which we term aatS, embedded within one of the adjacent genes. Our work demonstrates that non-canonical sites of transcription factor binding can have hidden functionality.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0157016
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2016


  • Journal Article