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Res Microbiol. 2004 Mar;155(2):98-104.

Stringent control in the archaeal genus Sulfolobus.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare e dello Sviluppo, Università La Sapienza, Via dei Sardi 70, 00185 Rome, Italy.


Six Archaea belonging to the phylum Euryarchaeota were previously analyzed with respect to stringent control. Only one of the strains studied was shown to possess Bacteria-like stringent control over stable RNA accumulation; ppGpp and pppGpp production was totally lacking in all Archaea analyzed. To broaden our knowledge of stringent control in the Archaea, we examined here the accumulation of stable RNA and the production of ppGpp and pppGpp under amino acid starvation in three species of the genus Sulfolobus belonging to the Crenarchaeota, an archaeal phylum distant from the Euryarchaeota. In these species the accumulation of sRNA was arrested when aminoacylation of tRNA was inhibited by pseudomonic acid. Furthermore, stringent control of stable RNA accumulation was relaxed by some protein synthesis inhibitors that do not interfere with aminoacylation of tRNA, a feature typical of bacterial stringent control. Neither ppGpp nor pppGpp could be detected during growth or under amino acid starvation, and the intracellular GTP levels did not decrease in the course of the stringent response. These results show that: (1) stringency is widespread in wild-type thermoacidophilic archaea; (2) in the crenarchaeal species analyzed here SC depends on the deaminoacylation of tRNA; (3) in the strains analyzed ppGpp is not produced during normal growth nor during the stringent reaction; it is therefore not an effector either of SC over sRNA synthesis or of growth control. (p)ppGpp appears to be completely absent from the Archaea and thus constitutes an additional feature that distinguishes the Bacteria from the Archaea.

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