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RNA. 2008 Feb;14(2):233-9. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

The bacterial toxin RelE induces specific mRNA cleavage in the A site of the eukaryote ribosome.

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  • 1Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow 119992, Russia.


RelE/RelB is a well-characterized toxin-anti-toxin pair involved in nutritional stress responses in Bacteria and Archae. RelE lacks any eukaryote homolog, but we demonstrate here that it efficiently and specifically cleaves mRNA in the A site of the eukaryote ribosome. The cleavage mechanism is similar to that in bacteria, showing the feasibility of A-site cleavage of mRNA for regulatory purposes also in eukaryotes. RelE cleavage in the A-site codon of a stalled eukaryote ribosome is precise and easily monitored, making "RelE printing" a useful complement to toeprinting to determine the exact mRNA location on the eukaryote ribosome and to probe the occupancy of its A site.

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