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Mol Microbiol. 2008 Oct;70(1):183-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2008.06400.x. Epub 2008 Aug 18.

mRNA processing by RNases J1 and J2 affects Bacillus subtilis gene expression on a global scale.

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  • 1Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics, Department for Functional Genomics, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald, Walther-Rathenau-Str. 49A, D-17489 Greifswald, Germany.


Ribonucleases J1 and J2 of Bacillus subtilis are evolutionarily conserved enzymes combining an endoribonucleolytic and a 5'-3' exoribonucleolytic activity in a single polypeptide. Their endoribonucleolytic cleavage specificity resembles that of RNase E, a key player in the processing and degradation of RNA in Escherichia coli. The biological significance of the paralogous RNases J1 and J2 in Bacillus subtilis is still unknown. Based on the premise that cleavage of an mRNA might alter its stability and hence its abundance, we have analysed the transcriptomes and proteomes of single and double mutant strains. The absence or decrease of both RNases J1 and J2 together profoundly alters the expression level of hundreds of genes. By contrast, the effect on global gene expression is minimal in single mutant strains, suggesting that the two nucleases have largely overlapping substrate specificities. Half-life measurements of individual mRNAs show that RNases J1/J2 can alter gene expression by modulating transcript stability. The absence/decrease of RNases J1 and J2 results in similar numbers of transcripts whose abundance is either increased or decreased, suggesting a complex role of these ribonucleases in both degradative and regulatory processing events that have an important impact on gene expression.

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