An anti-TRAP (AT) protein, a factor of previously unknown function, conveys the metabolic signal that the cellular transfer RNA for tryptophan (tRNATrp) is predominantly uncharged. Expression of the operon encoding AT is induced by uncharged tRNATrp. AT associates with TRAP, the trp operon attenuation protein, and inhibits its binding to its target RNA sequences. This relieves TRAP-mediated transcription termination and translation inhibition, increasing the rate of tryptophan biosynthesis. AT binds to TRAP primarily when it is in the tryptophan-activated state. The 53-residue AT polypeptide is homologous to the zinc-binding domain of DnaJ. The mechanisms regulating tryptophan biosynthesis in Bacillus subtilis differ from those used by Escherichia coli.
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