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J Bacteriol. 1989 Nov;171(11):5803-11.

Mechanism of erythromycin-induced ermC mRNA stability in Bacillus subtilis.

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Department of Biochemistry, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York 10029.


In Bacillus subtilis, the ermC gene encodes an mRNA that is unusually stable (40-min half-life) in the presence of erythromycin, an inducer of ermC gene expression. A requirement for this induced mRNA stability is a ribosome stalled in the ermC leader region. This property of ermC mRNA was used to study the decay of mRNA in B. subtilis. Using constructs in which the ribosome stall site was internal rather than at the 5' end of the message, we show that ribosome stalling provides stability to sequences downstream but not upstream of the ribosome stall site. Our results indicate that ermC mRNA is degraded by a ribonucleolytic activity that begins at the 5' end and degrades the message in a 5'-to-3' direction.

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