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Mol Microbiol. 2014 Oct;94(1):5-8. doi: 10.1111/mmi.12769. Epub 2014 Sep 4.

Caught in the act: RNA-Seq provides novel insights into mRNA degradation.

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Department of General Microbiology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


RNA degradation is a major mechanism of post-transcriptional control of gene expression. Moreover, the rapid turnover of bacterial mRNAs is central to the fast adaptation of these organisms to changing environmental conditions by the regulation of transcription initiation. In most bacteria, RNA processing and degradation require the concerted action of endo- and exoribonucleases. In Molecular Microbiology, Liu et al. (2014) have analysed RNA processing by polynucleotide phosphorylase, the major 3'-5' exonuclease in Bacillus subtilis. For the first time, they were able to study RNA degradation by this enzyme at single nucleotide resolution. The work provides novel insights into the mechanism by which RNA degradation acts in B. subtilis. Moreover, Liu et al. demonstrate that the post-transcriptional control of central regulators affects the expression of whole regulons.

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