Pribnow box

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The Pribnow box (also known as the Pribnow-Schaller box) is the sequence TATAAT of six nucleotides (thymine, adenine, thymine, etc.) that is an essential part of a promoter site on DNA for transcription to occur in bacteria.[1][2] It is an idealized or consensus sequence—that is, it shows the most frequently occurring base at each position in a large number of promoters analyzed; individual promoters often vary from the consensus at one or more positions. It is also commonly called the -10 sequence, because it is centered roughly 10 base pairs upstream from the site of initiation of transcription.

The Pribnow box has a function similar to the TATA box that occurs in promoters in eukaryotes and archaea: it is recognized and bound by a subunit of RNA polymerase during initiation of transcription.[3] This region of the DNA is also the first place where base pairs separate during prokaryotic transcription to allow access to the template strand. The AT-richness is important to allow this separation, since adenine and thymine are easier to break apart (not only due to fewer hydrogen bond but also weaker base stacking effects).[4]

It is named after David Pribnow and Heinz Schaller.[1][2]

Probability of occurrence of each nucleotide in E. coli[edit]

82% 89% 52% 59% 49% 89%
From Harley et al.:[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Pribnow, David (March 1975). "Nucleotide sequence of an RNA polymerase binding site at an early T7 promoter". PNAS. 72 (3): 784–788. doi:10.1073/pnas.72.3.784. ISSN 1091-6490. PMC 432404. PMID 1093168.
  2. ^ a b Schaller, Heinz; Gray, Christopher; Herrman, Karin (February 1975). "Nucleotide sequence of an RNA polymerase binding site from the DNA of Bacteriophage fd". PNAS. 72 (2): 737–741. doi:10.1073/pnas.72.2.737. ISSN 1091-6490. PMC 432391. PMID 1054851.
  3. ^ Feklistov, Andrey; Darst, Seth (2011). "Structural Basis for Promoter −10 Element Recognition by the Bacterial RNA Polymerase σ Subunit". Cell. 147 (6): 1257–69. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2011.10.041. PMC 3245737. PMID 22136875.
  4. ^ Yakovchuk, Peter; Protozanova, Ekaterina; Frank-Kamenetskii, Maxim D. (January 2006). "Base-stacking and base-pairing contributions into thermal stability of the DNA double helix". Nucleic Acids Research. 34 (2): 564–574. doi:10.1093/nar/gkj454. ISSN 0305-1048. PMC 1360284. PMID 16449200.
  5. ^ Harley, Calvin B.; Reynolds, Robert P. (March 1987). "Analysis of E. coli promoter sequences" (PDF, 0.9 MB). Nucleic Acids Research. 15 (5): 2343–2361. doi:10.1093/nar/15.5.2343. ISSN 0305-1048. PMC 340638. PMID 3550697.