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J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 28;280(43):36380-5. Epub 2005 Aug 30.

Role of mRNA stability during genome-wide adaptation of Lactococcus lactis to carbon starvation.

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  • 1Laboratoire Biotechnologie Bioprocédés, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5504 CNRS, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, 135 Avenue de Rangueil, 31077 Toulouse Cedex 4, France.


The stability of mRNA was investigated for the first time at the genomic scale during carbon starvation adaptation of Lactococcus lactis IL1403. In exponential phase, mRNA half-lives were correlated positively to open reading frame length. A polypurine sequence, AGGAG, was identified as a putative 5'-stabilizer and inverted repeated sequences as a 3'-destabilizer. These original findings suggested that multiple pathways of mRNA degradation should coexist: internal cleavage, endonuclease cleavage initiated at the 5'-end, and exonuclease attack at the 3'-end. During carbon starvation adaptation, mRNA stability globally increased, but specific mechanisms allowing a wide range of stabilization factors between genes and differential kinetic evolution were involved. A formal method allowing the quantification of the relative influences of transcription and degradation on the mRNA pool control was developed and applied in L. lactis. Gene expression was mostly controlled by altered transcription prior to carbon source exhaustion, while the influence of mRNA stability increased during the starvation phase. This study highlighted that stability modulation in response to adverse growth conditions can govern gene regulation to the same extent as transcription in bacteria.

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