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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Mar 17;95(6):3157-61.

RNA components of Escherichia coli degradosome: evidence for rRNA decay.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 115, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Recently, we found that a multicomponent ribonucleolytic degradosome complex formed around RNase E, a key mRNA-degrading and 9S RNA-processing enzyme, contains RNA in addition to its protein components. Herein we show that the RNA found in the degradosome consists primarily of rRNA fragments that have a range of distinctive sizes. We further show that rRNA degradation is carried out in the degradosome by RNase E cleavage of A+U-rich single-stranded regions of mature 16S and 23S rRNAs. The 5S rRNA, which is known to be generated by RNase E processing of the 9S precursor, was also identified in the degradosome, but tRNAs, which are not cleaved by RNase E in vitro, were absent. Our results, which provide evidence that decay of mature rRNAs occurs in growing Escherichia coli cells in the RNA degradosome, implicate RNase E in degradosome-mediated decay.

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