It is known that DNA curvature plays a certain role in gene regulation. The distribution of curved DNA in promoter regions is evolutionarily preserved, and it is mainly determined by temperature of habitat. However, very little is known on the distribution of DNA curvature in termination sites. Our main objective was to comprehensively analyze distribution of curved sequences upstream and downstream to the coding genes in prokaryotic genomes. We applied CURVATURE software to 170 complete prokaryotic genomes in a search for possible typical distribution of DNA curvature around starts and ends of genes. Performing cluster analyses and other statistical tests, we obtained novel results regarding various factors influencing curvature distribution in intergenic regions, such as growth temperature, A + T composition and genome size. We also analyzed intergenic regions between converging genes in 15 selected genomes. The results show that six genomes presented peaks of curvature excess larger than 3 SDs. Insufficient statistics did not allow us to draw further conclusion. Our hypothesis is that DNA curvature could affect transcription termination in many prokaryotes either directly, through contacts with RNA polymerase, or indirectly, via contacts with some regulatory proteins.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was partially performed during the sabbatical stay of A.B. in Indiana University School of Informatics. The research was supported by a grant from the United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation BSF 2003291. We would like to thank Ms. Robin Permut for the editing. Funding to pay the Open Access publication charges for this article was provided by University of Haifa.
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