Matt Tarnowski, University of Bristol, UK
Transcriptional terminators signal where transcribing RNA polymerases (RNAPs) should disassociate from DNA. Two forms of transcript can arise: one ending at the terminator and the other reading through. An ability to control the abundance of these transcript isoforms allows regulation of multi-gene constructs. We repurpose terminators as ‘transcriptional valves’ which can tune the proportion of read-through. We show how nanopore-based direct RNA sequencing simultaneously characterizes 1,183 transcriptional valves for T7 RNAP at nucleotide resolution in vitro and unravels their genetic design principles. This work elucidates a new mechanism to control transcription and demonstrates how long-read sequencing can reveal sequence-function landscapes.
Matt Tarnowski is a Ph.D. student at the University of Bristol researching how microorganisms work by looking at their genetic code. He has growing interests in fermenting, foraging, regenerative agroecology, and responsible research.