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Mol Genet Genomics. 2001 Jun;265(4):615-21.

Temperature-sensitive mutations in various genes of Escherichia coli K12 can be suppressed by the ssrA gene for 10Sa RNA (tmRNA).

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  • 1Department of Biophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Japan.


An Escherichia coli strain with a deletion in the ssrA gene that encodes 10Sa RNA (tmRNA) was used to screen for temperature-sensitive (ts) mutants whose ts phenotypes were suppressible by introduction of the wild-type ssrA gene. Mutants in four different genes were isolated. Ts mutants of this type were also obtained in a screen for mutations in thyA, the structural gene for thymidylate synthase. The ThyA activity in crude extracts prepared from the ts mutants was temperature-sensitive. The presence of the ssrA gene caused an increase in the total amount of the temperature-sensitive enzyme expressed, rather than suppressing the ts activity of the enzyme itself. SsrA-DD, a mutant form of 10Sa RNA, suppressed the ts phenotype of a thyA mutant, suggesting that degradation of a tagged peptide was not required for suppression of the ts phenotype. Considering the fact that ssrA-suppressible mutants could be isolated as temperature-sensitive mutants with mutations in different genes, it seems evident that trans-translation can occur on mRNA that is not lacking its stop codon.

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