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Cell. 1997 Jul 11;90(1):43-53.

A small, stable RNA induced by oxidative stress: role as a pleiotropic regulator and antimutator.

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Cell Biology and Metabolism Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Exposure of E. coli to hydrogen peroxide induces the transcription of a small RNA denoted oxyS. The oxyS RNA is stable, abundant, and does not encode a protein. oxyS activates and represses the expression of numerous genes in E. coli, and eight targets, including genes encoding the transcriptional regulators FhlA and sigma(S), were identified. oxyS expression also leads to a reduction in spontaneous and chemically-induced mutagenesis. Our results suggest that the oxyS RNA acts as a regulator that integrates adaptation to hydrogen peroxide with other cellular stress responses and helps to protect cells against oxidative damage.

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