Transcriptional attenuation is a regulatory mechanism that causes premature termination of transcription under certain conditions, thereby preventing the expression of the mRNA required for expression of the corresponding gene products. Attenuation typically results from mRNA folding into alternative secondary structures, one of which is a Rho-independent terminator. For a nice overview of attenuation in its many different flavors, see Bob Landick's online lecture (pdf).
Bioinformatic approaches have been developed to identify genes that are regulated by attenuation. These approaches are mainly based upon predicted RNA secondary structures and location relative to the promoter.
SOME USEFUL GENERAL REVIEWS ON ATTENUATION:
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Last modified October 26, 2005