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Mol Microbiol. 1991 Jul;5(7):1791-9.

Differential decay of a polycistronic Escherichia coli transcript is initiated by RNaseE-dependent endonucleolytic processing.

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Department of Microbiology, University of UmeƄ, Sweden.


Differential expression of the genes expressing Pap pili in Escherichia coli was suggested to involve mRNAs with different stabilities. As the result of a post-transcriptional processing event, a papA gene-specific mRNA product (mRNA-A) accumulates in large excess relative to the primary mRNA-BA transcript. Our results show that the processed product, mRNA-A, is a translationally active molecule and that it is generated from the mRNA-BA precursor by an RNaseE-dependent mechanism. The processing did not occur under non-permissive conditions in an E. coli rne mutant strain with a temperature-sensitive RNaseE. The endonuclease RNaseE was previously described as being chiefly involved in the processing of the 9S precursor of 5S rRNA. A comparison of nucleotide sequences of mRNA-BA and three other RNAs processed by RNAseE revealed a conserved motif around the cleavage sites. Mutations abolishing the activity of either of two other endoribonucleases, RNaseIII and RNaseP, did not affect the pap mRNA processing event. However, a conditional mutation in the ams locus, causing altered stability of bulk mRNA in E. coli, led to reduced pap mRNA processing in a manner similar to the effect caused by RNaseE deficiency. Our findings are consistent with the idea that ams is related/allelic to rne. Absence of the processing event in the RNaseE mutant (rne-3071) strain led to a four-fold stabilization of the mRNA-BA primary transcript. We conclude that the RNaseE-dependent processing event is the rate-limiting step in the decay of the papB-coding part of the primary transcript and in the production of the stable mRNA-A product.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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