The ilvGMEDA operon of Escherichia coli K-12 contains an internal promoter, PE, in the distal portion of the ilvM gene immediately upstream from the ilvE gene. The location of this promoter was determined using S1 nuclease protection analyses of in vivo and in vitro transcripts. The transcriptional activity of the internal promoter was compared to the transcriptional activity of the operon-proximal promoter P1P2 using transcriptional fusion vectors and plasmid copy number determinations. These measurements showed that the P1P2 promoter is 52-fold stronger than the internal PE promoter. Estimates of the transcriptional role of the internal promoter on ilvE gene expression during growth conditions in excess and limiting branch chain amino acids is presented.
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