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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The sequence TNNCT modulates transcription of a Drosophila Melanogaster tRNA ₄ gene Sajjadi, Fereydoun G.


The transcription efficiency of transfer RNA genes is modulated by sequences contained in their 5'-flanking region. For a tRNA val₄ gene a pentanucleotide with the sequence TCGCT was identified between positions -33 and -38. I have previously proposed that this sequence may be involved in specifically determining the rate of transcription of this gene. A general form of this sequence, TNNCT was found associated with other Drosophila tRNA genes which showed high ill vitro transcription efficiency. To further elucidate the role of TCGCT in tRNA transcription, single and double base-pair changes were created in the sequence TCGCT using site-specific mutagenesis. Mutations in the nucleotides -38T, -35C and -34T showed decreased levels of transcription whereas nucleotide changes at the nucleotides -37C and -36G did not reduce template activity. Therefore the sequence which modulates transcription of the tRNAVal₄ gene does have the general form TNNCT. Competition experiments between the Val₄ mutant -38G.-35A and a tRNASer₇ gene showed the TNNCT mutant to be a better competitor for transcription than the wild type template. Experiments analyzing the time-course of transcription, the effects of temperature and the effects of ionic strength indicated that TNNCT was not involved in determining the efficiency of stable complex formation. It is proposed that the pentanucleotide is probably responsible for influencing the rate of initiation of transcription. A sequence TGCCT contained in the anticodon stem/loop region of the Val₄ gene was also mutagenized and shown to be involved in complex stability or the elongation of Val₄ tRNAs. Using deletion analysis of the 5'-flanking sequences of a tRNASer₇ gene, a second positive transcription regulatory element was delimited. This sequence was also found in the 5'-flanks of the tRNAVal₄ and a tRNAArg gene.

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