Abstract

Transcription in cyanobacteria involves several fascinating features. Cyanobacteria comprise one of the very few groups in which no proofreading factors (Gre homologues) have been identified. Gre factors increase the efficiency of RNA cleavage, therefore helping to maintain the fidelity of the RNA transcript and assist in the resolution of stalled RNAPs to prevent genome damage. The vast majority of bacterial species encode at least one of these highly conserved factors and so their absence in cyanobacteria is intriguing. Additionally, the largest subunit of bacterial RNAP has undergone a split in cyanobacteria to form two subunits and the SI3 insertion within the integral trigger loop element is roughly 3.5 times larger than in Escherichia coli. The Rho termination factor also appears to be absent, leaving cyanobacteria to rely solely on an intrinsic termination mechanism. Furthermore, cyanobacteria must be able to respond to environment signals such as light intensity and tightly synchronise gene expression and other cell activities to a circadian rhythm.

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