Transcription in bacteria at different DNA concentrations. Academic Article uri icon


  • The effect of changing the DNA concentration on RNA synthesis, protein synthesis, and cell growth rate was studied in Escherichia coli B/r. The DNA concentration was varied by changing the replication velocity or by changing replication initiation in a thymine-requiring strain with a mutation in replication control. The results demonstrate that changes in DNA concentration (per mass) have no effect on the cell growth rate and the rates of synthesis (per mass) of stable RNA (rRNA, tRNA), bulk mRNA, or protein or on the concentration of RNA polymerase (total RNA polymerase per mass). Thus, transcription in E. coli is not limited by the concentration of DNA, but rather by the concentration of functional RNA polymerase in the cytoplasm. Changing the DNA concentration does, however, affect fully induced lac gene activity, here used as a model for constitutive gene expression. The magnitude of the effect of DNA concentration on lac gene activity depends on the distribution of replication forks over the chromosome, which is a function of the replication velocity. Analysis of these date reinforces the conclusion that transcription is limited by the concentration of functional RNA polymerase in the cytoplasm.

published proceedings

  • J Bacteriol

author list (cited authors)

  • Churchward, G., Bremer, H., & Young, R.

citation count

  • 48

complete list of authors

  • Churchward, G||Bremer, H||Young, R

publication date

  • May 1982