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J Bacteriol. Feb 1978; 133(2): 1015–1023.
PMCID: PMC222114

Small Stable RNAs from Escherichia coli: Evidence for the Existence of New Molecules and for a New Ribonucleoprotein Particle Containing 6S RNA


Small stable RNA molecules of Escherichia coli other than 5S (rRNA) and 4S (tRNA) were studied. Two of the molecules corresponded to 4.5S and 6S RNA, which have been reported previously. The third stable RNA molecule, 10S RNA, has not been described before. RNA labeled with 32Pi or [14C]uracil for a relatively long time, when separated in 5%/12% tandem polyacrylamide gels, displayed three bands corresponding to 10S, 6S, and 4.5S RNA in addition to rRNA and tRNA bands. These RNAs were stable in pulse-chase-labeling experiments. The amount of these RNAs was small, comprising only 0.2 to 0.5% of the total 32P incorporation. However, this amount represented a large number of molecules; for 6S and 4.5S, it was about 1,000/DNA molecule. These three RNAs were found in the postribosomal supernatant fraction. None of them was found in purified nucleoid fractions in which the tightly coiled DNA molecules were contained. Of these three RNAs, 6S RNA was unique in that it seemed to exist in a ribonucleoprotein particle. All these RNAs, as well as tRNA, were very stable in the cell under various physiological conditions. 5S RNA was less stable. On the other hand, purified 6S RNA was more susceptible than tRNA to cell nucleases when incubated with cell extracts, suggesting that, being in a particle, it is protected from cell nucleases.

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