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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Sep 22;106(38):16399-404. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907495106. Epub 2009 Sep 11.

Spatiotemporal patterns and transcription kinetics of induced RNA in single bacterial cells.

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Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Department of Biomedical Engineering, Boston University, 36 Cummington Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Bacteria have a complex internal organization with specific localization of many proteins and DNA, which dynamically move during the cell cycle and in response to changing environmental stimuli. Much less is known, however, about the localization and movements of RNA molecules. By modifying our previous RNA labeling system, we monitor the expression and localization of a model RNA transcript in live Escherichia coli cells. Our results reveal that the target RNA is not evenly distributed within the cell and localizes laterally along the long cell axis, in a pattern suggesting the existence of ordered helical RNA structures reminiscent of known bacterial cytoskeletal cellular elements.

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