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Nucleic Acids Res. 1996 Dec 15;24(24):4918-23.

Functional Escherichia coli 23S rRNAs containing processed and unprocessed intervening sequences from Salmonella typhimurium.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA.


We have introduced the intervening sequence (IVS) from 23S rRNA of the rrnD operon of Salmonella typhimurium into the equivalent position of Escherichia coli 23S rRNA. Salmonella typhimurium 23S rRNA is fragmented due to the RNase III-dependent removal of the approximately 100 nt stem-loop structure that comprises the IVS. In this study, we have found that insertion of the S. typhimurium IVS into E. coli 23S rRNA causes fragmentation of the RNA but does not affect ribosome function. Cells expressing the fragmented 23S rRNA exhibited wild-type growth rates. Fragmented RNA was found in the actively translating polysome pool and did not alter the sedimentation profile of ribosomal subunits, 70S ribosomes or polysomes. Finally, hybrid 23S rRNA carrying the A2058G mutation conferred high level erythromycin resistance indistinguishable from that of intact 23S rRNA carrying this mutation. These observations indicate that the presence of this IVS and its removal are phenotypically silent. As observed in an RNase III-deficient strain, processing of the IVS was not required for the production of functional ribosomes.

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