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J Bacteriol. 2011 Sep;193(17):4371-9. doi: 10.1128/JB.00452-11. Epub 2011 Jul 8.

RNase III-dependent expression of the rpsO-pnp operon of Streptomyces coelicolor.

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Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


We have examined the expression of the rpsO-pnp operon in an RNase III (rnc) mutant of Streptomyces coelicolor. Western blotting demonstrated that polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase) levels increased in the rnc mutant, JSE1880, compared with the parental strain, M145, and this observation was confirmed by polymerization assays. It was observed that rpsO-pnp mRNA levels increased in the rnc mutant by 1.6- to 4-fold compared with M145. This increase was observed in exponential, transition, and stationary phases, and the levels of the readthrough transcript, initiated upstream of rpsO in the rpsO-pnp operon; the pnp transcript, initiated in the rpsO-pnp intergenic region; and the rpsO transcript all increased. The increased levels of these transcripts in JSE1880 reflected increased chemical half-lives for each of the three. We demonstrated further that overexpression of the rpsO-pnp operon led to significantly higher levels of PNPase activity in JSE1880 compared to M145, reflecting the likelihood that PNPase expression is autoregulated in an RNase III-dependent manner in S. coelicolor. To explore further the increase in the level of the pnp transcript initiated in the intergenic region in JSE1880, we utilized that transcript as a substrate in assays employing purified S. coelicolor RNase III. These assays revealed the presence of hitherto-undiscovered sites of RNase III cleavage of the pnp transcript. The position of those sites was determined by primer extension, and they were shown to be situated in the loops of a stem-loop structure.

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