Initiation of σ54-dependent transcription requires assistance to melt DNA at the promoter site but is impeded by numerous protein-protein and nucleo-protein interactions. To alleviate these inhibitory interactions, hexameric bacterial enhancer binding proteins (bEBP), a subset of the ATPases associated with various cellular activities (AAA+) protein family, are required to remodel the transcription complex using energy derived from ATP hydrolysis. However, neither the process of energy conversion nor the internal architecture of the closed promoter complex is well understood. Escherichia coli Phage shock protein F (PspF), a well-studied bEBP, contains a surface-exposed loop 1 (L1). L1 is key to the energy coupling process by interacting with Region I of σ54 (σ54RI) in a nucleotide dependent manner. Our analyses uncover new levels of complexity in the engagement of a multimeric bEBP with a basal transcription complex via several L1s. The mechanistic implications for these multivalent L1 interactions are elaborated in the light of available structures for the bEBP and its target complexes.
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