This invention relates to the cloning and expression of autogenes encoding RNA polymerases of T7 and T7-like bacteriophages, in which the RNA polymerase gene is transcribed from a promoter which is recognized by the encoded RNA polymerase. Cloning of T7 autogenes was achieved by reducing the activity of the RNA polymerase sufficiently to permit host cell growth. T7 RNA polymerase activity was controlled by combining two independent methods: lac-repression of the recombinant lac operator-T7 promoter in the autogene and inhibition of the polymerase by T7 lysozyme. Expression systems for producing the RNA polymerases of T7 and other T7-like bacteriophages, and expression systems for producing selected gene products are described, as well as other related materials and methods.
Work described herein was supported by the Office of Health and Environmental Research of the United States Department of Energy and by Public Health Service grant GM21872 from the Institute of General Medical Services. The U.S. government has certain rights in this invention.