RNase activity of polynucleotide phosphorylase is critical at low temperature in Escherichia coli and is complemented by RNase II

Naoki Awano, Masayori Inouye, Sangita Phadtare

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39 Scopus citations

Abstract

In Escherichia coli, the cold shock response is exerted upon a temperature change from 37°C to 15°C and is characterized by induction of several cold shock proteins, including polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase), during acclimation phase. In E. coli, PNPase is essential for growth at low temperatures; however, its exact role in this essential function has not been fully elucidated. PNPase is a 3′-to-5′ exoribonuclease and promotes the processive degradation of RNA. Our screening of an E. coli genomic library for an in vivo counterpart of PNPase that can compensate for its absence at low temperature revealed only one protein, another 3′-to-5′ exonuclease, RNase II. Here we show that the RNase PH domains 1 and 2 of PNPase are important for its cold shock function, suggesting that the RNase activity of PNPase is critical for its essential function at low temperature. We also show that its polymerization activity is dispensable in its cold shock function. Interestingly, the third 3′-to-5′ processing exoribonuclease, RNase R of E. coli, which is cold inducible, cannot complement the cold shock function of PNPase. We further show that this difference is due to the different targets of these enzymes and stabilization of some of the PNPase-sensitive mRNAs, like fis, in the Δpnp cells has consequences, such as accumulation of ribosomal subunits in the Δpnp cells, which may play a role in the cold sensitivity of this strain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5924-5933
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Volume190
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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