Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Genes Cells. 2000 Aug;5(8):627-35.

Requirement of transfer-messenger RNA for the growth of Bacillus subtilis under stresses.

Author information

  • 1Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Hirosaki University, Hirosaki 036-8561, Japan.



Bacterial transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA, 10Sa RNA) is involved in a trans-translation reaction which contributes to the degradation of incompletely synthesized peptides and to the recycling of stalled ribosomes. However, its physiological role in the cell remains elusive. In this study, an efficient system for controlling the expression of the gene for tmRNA (ssrA), as well as a tmRNA gene-defective strain (ssrA:cat), were constructed in Bacillus subtilis. The effects of tmRNA on the growth of the cells were investigated under various physiological culture conditions using these strains.


The cells were viable in the absence of ssrA expression under the usual culture conditions. However, the growth rate of cells without tmRNA expression, relative to that of the expressed cells, decreased with elevating temperature (> 45 degrees C), and at 52 degrees C, the highest temperature for growth of the wild-type, cells grew depending on the expression level of tmRNA. Furthermore, the transcription level of the ssrA from the authentic promoter at a high temperature (51 degrees C) was about 10-fold higher than that at a lower temperature (37 degrees C). tmRNA-dependent growth and an increase in tmRNA amount were also observed in cells under other stresses, such as high concentrations of ethanol or cadmium chloride. It is also shown that alanylated tmRNA rather than tmRNA-mediated proteolysis is required for growth at high temperature.


The expression of tmRNA gene (ssrA) is required for the efficient growth of B. subtilis under several strong stresses. The transcription of ssrA increases under several stressful conditions, suggesting that it is a stress-response gene. Alanyl-tmRNA, probably via its ability of recycling stalled ribosomes via trans-translation, is involved in the stress tolerance of bacteria.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Wiley
    Loading ...
    Support Center