Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



In transcription, a universal step in gene expression, information from a DNA sequence is copied into RNA. A key component in gene expression is the promoter sequence, a region of DNA to which RNA polymerase binds during the initiation of transcription of downstream genes. Most bacterial promoters contain a -10 and a -35 sequence that are bound by the RNA polymerase. Some promoters also contain an Upstream Promoter (UP) element. UP elements have been shown to boost promoter activity. We recently identified a new promoter in a mutant bacteriophage that grows on a bacterial host that prevents antitermination of phage transcription. Close inspection of the promoter sequence suggested it had a putative UP element. The goal of this project was to determine if the UP element-like sequence contributes to promoter activity and, if so, to what degree it might influence growth on the restrictive bacterial host. To test the effect of the putative UP element, reporter gene fusions were created in which the UP element-like sequence was deleted. Our results show that the deletion of the UP element-like sequence decreased promoter activity two-fold. These results suggest that the sequence is an UP element. This research has enhanced our understanding of how the phage mutation suppresses the effect of the antitermination defective host.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Rodney A. King


Biotechnology | Cell Biology | Laboratory and Basic Science Research | Virology