Proshkin, S., Rahmouni, A.R., Mironov, A. & Nudler, E.
Science 328, 504-508.
publié le , mis à jour le
During transcription of protein-coding genes, bacterial RNA polymerase (RNAP) is closely followed by a ribosome that is engaged in translation of the newly synthesized transcript. Here we show that as a result of translation-transcription coupling the overall elongation rate of transcription is tightly controlled by translation. Acceleration and deceleration of a ribosome results in corresponding changes in the speed of RNAP. Consistently, we found an inverse correlation between the number of rare codons in a gene, which delay ribosome progression, and the rate of transcription. We further show that the stimulating effect of a ribosome on RNAP is achieved by preventing RNAP from adopting non-productive states. The moving ribosome inhibits spontaneous backtracking of RNAP, thereby enhancing its pace and also facilitating read-through of roadblocks in vivo. Such a cooperative mechanism ensures the two gene expression machineries match precisely each other rates, so that the transcriptional yield is always adjusted to translational needs at different genes and under various growth conditions.