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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Nov;14(4):731-41.

mRNA degradation in Escherichia coli: a novel factor which impedes the exoribonucleolytic activity of PNPase at stem-loop structures.

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  • 1Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories, Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, UK.


Stem-loop structures can protect upstream mRNA from degradation by impeding the processive activities of 3'-5' exoribonucleases. The ability of such structures to impede exonuclease activity in vitro is insufficient to account for the stability they can confer on mRNA in vivo. In this study we identify a factor from Escherichia coli which specifically impedes the processive activity of the 3'-5' exonuclease PNPase at stem-loop structures in vitro. This factor can, potentially, reconcile the apparent discrepancy between the ability of 3' stem-loop structures to stabilize upstream mRNA in vitro and in vivo. Its mechanism of action, and possible role in regulating mRNA degradation, is discussed.

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