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J Bacteriol. 1988 Oct;170(10):4625-33.

Stabilization of discrete mRNA breakdown products in ams pnp rnb multiple mutants of Escherichia coli K-12.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens 30602.

Erratum in

  • J Bacteriol 1988 Dec;170(12):5974.


The degradation of mRNA in Escherichia coli is thought to occur through a series of endonucleolytic and exonucleolytic steps. By constructing a series of multiple mutants containing the pnp-7 (polynucleotide phosphorylase), rnb-500 (RNase II), and ams-1 (altered message stability) alleles, it was possible to study general mRNA turnover as well as the degradation of specific mRNAs. Of most interest was the ams-1 pnp-7 rnb-500 triple mutant in which the half-life of total pulse-labeled RNA increased three- to fourfold at the nonpermissive temperature. RNA-DNA hybridization analysis of several specific mRNAs such as trxA (thioredoxin), ssb (single-stranded-DNA-binding protein), uvrD (DNA helicase II), cat (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase), nusA (N utilization substance), and pnp (polynucleotide phosphorylase) demonstrated two- to fourfold increases in their chemical half-lives. A new method for high-resolution Northern (RNA) analysis showed that the trxA and cat mRNAs are degraded into discrete fragments which are significantly stabilized only in the triple mutant. A model for mRNA turnover is discussed.

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