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Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2009;85:275-317. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6603(08)00807-6.

RNA degradation in Archaea and Gram-negative bacteria different from Escherichia coli.

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University of Giessen, Giessen, Germany.


Exoribonucleolytic and endoribonucleolytic activities are important for controlled degradation of RNA and contribute to the regulation of gene expression at the posttranscriptional level by influencing the half-lives of specific messenger RNAs. The RNA half-lives are determined by the characteristics of the RNA substrates and by the availability and the properties of the involved proteins-ribonucleases and assisting polypeptides. Much is known about RNA degradation in Eukarya and Bacteria, but there is limited information about RNA-degrading enzymes and RNA destabilizing or stabilizing elements in the domain of the Archaea. The recent progress in the understanding of the structure and function of the archaeal exosome, a protein complex with RNA-degrading and RNA-tailing capabilities, has given some first insights into the mechanisms of RNA degradation in the third domain of life and into the evolution of RNA-degrading enzymes. Moreover, other archaeal RNases with degrading potential have been described and a new mechanism for protection of the 5'-end of RNA in Archaea was discovered. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on RNA degradation in the Archaea. Additionally, RNA degradation mechanisms in Rhodobacter capsulatus and Pseudomonas syringae are compared to those in the major model organism for Gram-negatives, Escherichia coli, which dominates our view on RNA degradation in Bacteria.

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