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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Apr;12(1):49-60.

Replication control of plasmid R1: disruption of an inhibitory RNA structure that sequesters the repA ribosome-binding site permits tap-independent RepA synthesis.

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1
Department of Microbiology, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Abstract

The replication frequency of plasmid R1 is controlled by an antisense RNA, CopA, that inhibits the synthesis of the replication initiator protein, RepA, at the post-transcriptional level. This inhibition is indirect and affects translation of a leader peptide reading frame (tap). Translation of tap is required for repA translation (Blomberg et al., 1992). Here we asked whether an RNA stem-loop sequestering the repA ribosome-binding site blocks tap translation-independent repA expression. Destabilization of this structure resulted in tap-independent RepA synthesis, concomitant with a loss of CopA-mediated inhibition; thus, CopA acts at the level of tap translation. Structure probing of RepA mRNAs confirmed that the introduced mutations induced a local destabilization in the repA ribosome-binding site stem-loop. An increased spacing between the repA Shine-Dalgarno region and the start codon permitted even higher repA expression. In Incl alpha/IncB plasmids, an RNA pseudoknot acts as an activator for rep translation. We suggest that the regulatory pathway in plasmid R1 does not involve an activator RNA pseudoknot.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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