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J Bacteriol. 1997 Jan;179(1):297-300.

The RNA-binding protein HF-I plays a global regulatory role which is largely, but not exclusively, due to its role in expression of the sigmaS subunit of RNA polymerase in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany.


The hfq-encoded RNA-binding protein HF-I has long been known as a host factor for phage Qbeta RNA replication and has recently been shown to be essential for translation of rpoS, which encodes the sigmaS subunit of RNA polymerase. Here we demonstrate that an hfq null mutant does not synthesize glycogen, is starvation and multiple stress sensitive, and exhibits strongly reduced expression of representative sigmaS-regulated genes. These phenotypes are consistent with strongly reduced sigmaS levels in the hfq mutant. However, the analysis of global protein synthesis patterns on two-dimensional O'Farrell gels indicates that approximately 40% of the more than 30 proteins whose syntheses are altered in the hfq null mutant are not affected by an rpoS mutation. We conclude that HF-I is a global regulator involved in the regulation of expression of sigmaS and sigmaS-independent genes.

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