The MerR-family proteins represent a unique family of bacteria transcription factors (TFs), which activate transcription in a manner distinct from canonical ones. Here, we report a cryo-EM structure of a B. subtilis transcription activation complex comprising B. subtilis six-subunit (2αββ‘ωε) RNA Polymerase (RNAP) core enzyme, σA, a promoter DNA, and the ligand-bound B. subtilis BmrR, a prototype of MerR-family TFs. The structure reveals that RNAP and BmrR recognize the upstream promoter DNA from opposite faces and induce four significant kinks from the −35 element to the −10 element of the promoter DNA in a cooperative manner, which restores otherwise inactive promoter activity by shortening the length of promoter non-optimal −35/−10 spacer. Our structure supports a DNA-distortion and RNAP-non-contact paradigm of transcriptional activation by MerR TFs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)