General musings from the MacVector team about sequence analysis, molecular biology, the Mac in general and of course your favorite sequence analysis app for the Mac!

How to Identify Bacterial Promoters Using MacVector

MacVector’s Subsequence tool is a very flexible search function that can be used for a variety of tasks. MacVector itself has a built-in variant of the function for maintaining and search primer databases (Analyze | Primer Database Search…). Each entry in the file MacVector uses as a source of subsequence data can have up to 3 segments, with variable length between the segments, along with a defined number of permitted mismatches and even a system for requiring that specific residues must match. That makes it ideal for searching for bacterial promoters. For example, the canonical Escherichia coli promoter sequence is a “-35” region TTGACA, then a gap of 16 to 18 residues, then a “-10” region “TATAAT”. You will find there is an EcoliPromoter.nsub file in the /MacVector/Subsequences/ folder. If not, you can download it. If you open the file in MacVector, you can see this.

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You can see that the file has four entries – each of these has two segments representing the -35 and -10 region, but each has additional settings that control how close a match has to be before it is reported. The names give some idea of the stringency of the match – Perfect, Probable, Possible and Weak. If you double-click on the Probable item, you get this editor.

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