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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Oct 1981; 78(10): 6008–6012.
PMCID: PMC348966

RNAs involved in copy-number control and incompatibility of plasmid R1.


Replication of plasmid R1 is controlled by the products of two genes, copA and copB, that act as inhibitors of replication. Here it is shown that one small RNA synthesized from the copA gene acts as replication inhibitor. This RNA molecule was identified from analyses of RNAs synthesized in EScherichia coli minicells carrying R1 miniplasmids or chimeric plasmids containing the copA gene. In minicells, This RNA was found to be unstable with a half-life of less than a few minutes. Two mutant hybrid plasmids lacking the inhibitor function did not express the RNA normally made from plasmids carrying the wild-type copA allele. Nucleotide sequence analysis of one of the copA mutants showed that a base substitution had occurred within the promoter sequence in front of the copA gene. DNA sequence analysis of the other mutant showed that a putative transcription-termination sequence was affected. The DNA sequence analysis also showed that the RNA molecule synthesized from the copA gene is untranslatable but has the potential for a high degree of secondary structure.

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