Send to

Choose Destination
RNA. 2008 Nov;14(11):2417-29. doi: 10.1261/rna.1123908. Epub 2008 Sep 29.

Polynucleotide phosphorylase hinders mRNA degradation upon ribosomal protein S1 overexpression in Escherichia coli.

Author information

Dipartimento di Scienze biomolecolari e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Milano, 20133 Milano, Italy.


The exoribonuclease polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase, encoded by pnp) is a major player in bacterial RNA decay. In Escherichia coli, PNPase expression is post-transcriptionally regulated at the level of mRNA stability. The primary transcript is very efficiently processed by the endonuclease RNase III at a specific site and the processed pnp mRNA is rapidly degraded in a PNPase-dependent manner. While investigating the PNPase autoregulation mechanism we found, by UV-cross-linking experiments, that the ribosomal protein S1 in crude extracts binds to the pnp-mRNA leader region. We assayed the potential role of S1 protein in pnp gene regulation by modulating S1 expression from depletion to overexpression. We found that S1 depletion led to a sharp decrease of the amount of pnp and other tested mRNAs, as detected by Northern blotting, whereas S1 overexpression caused a strong stabilization of pnp and the other transcripts. Surprisingly, mRNA stabilization depended on PNPase, as it was not observed in a pnp deletion strain. PNPase-dependent stabilization, however, was not detected by chemical decay assay of bulk mRNA. Overall, our data suggest that PNPase exonucleolytic activity may be modulated by the translation potential of the target mRNAs and that, upon ribosomal protein S1 overexpression, PNPase protects from degradation a set of full-length mRNAs. It thus appears that a single mRNA species may be differentially targeted to either decay or PNPase-dependent stabilization, thus preventing its depletion in conditions of fast turnover.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center