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J Bacteriol. 2004 Oct;186(19):6400-8.

Antisense RNA regulation by stable complex formation in the Enterococcus faecalis plasmid pAD1 par addiction system.

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Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota 57069, USA.


The par stability determinant, encoded by the Enterococcus faecalis plasmid pAD1, is the only antisense RNA regulated postsegregational killing system identified in gram-positive bacteria. Because of the unique organization of the par locus, the par antisense RNA, RNA II, binds to its target, RNA I, at relatively small, interspersed regions of complementarity. The results of this study suggest that, rather than targeting the antisense bound message for rapid degradation, as occurs in most other antisense RNA regulated systems, RNA I and RNA II form a relatively stable, presumably translationally inactive complex. The stability of the RNA I-RNA II complex would allow RNA I to persist in an untranslated state unless or until the encoding plasmid was lost. After plasmid loss, RNA II would be removed from the complex, allowing translational activation of RNA I. The mechanism of RNA I activation in vivo is unknown, but in vitro dissociation experiments suggest that active removal of RNA II, for example by a cellular RNase, may be required.

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