Replication proteins encoded by bacteriophage T4 generate DNA replication forks that can pass a molecule of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase moving in the same direction as the fork in vitro. The RNA polymerase ternary transcription complex remains bound to the DNA and retains a transcription bubble after the fork passes. The by-passed ternary complex can resume faithful RNA synthesis, suggesting that the multisubunit RNA polymerase of E. coli has evolved to retain its transcript after DNA replication, allowing partially completed transcripts to be elongated into full-length RNA molecules.
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