Analysis of gene control signals by DNA fusion and cloning in Escherichia coli.
Plasmid cloning vectors that enable insertion of DNA fragments between the inducible ara (arabinose) promoter and the lac (lactose) structural genes have been constructed and used for the detection and analysis of signals that control gene transcription. Expression of the lac genes in the absence of the inducer arabinose indicates that transcription originates within the inserted fragment; non-expression of lac with arabinose present indicates that transcription is terminated by the fragment. Using different cloning vectors, DNA fragments generated by a wide variety of restriction endonucleases can be inserted between ara and lac. This procedure has been used to identify and isolate endonuclease-generated DNA fragments from the Escherichia coli chromosome, various R plasmids, bacteriophage T5 and Drosophila melanogaster that contain nucleotide sequences capable of functioning as promoters in E.coli. A characteristic level of lac expression is determined by the amount of transcription that proceeds to the lac genes from a promoter located within each fragment. The effects of genetic regulatory mechanisms acting on a promoter can be assayed by alterations in the level of lac expression. These cloning vectors were also used to bring structural genes located within an inserted DNA fragment under the control of the ara promoter. Insertion of HindIII endonuclease-generated fragments carrying the tetracycline-resistance determinant of pSC101 or the sulfonamide-resistance determinant of the R6-5 plasmid into such vectors resulted in arabinose-induced resistance to tetracycline or sulfonamide.DOI: 10.1016/0022-2836(80)90283-1