The cloning and overexpression of the Escherichia coli rna gene encoding RNase I are described. Only a single copy of the rna gene is present on the E. coli chromosome. Although cells with as much as a 100-fold increase in RNase I activity were constructed, little effect on cell growth was observed. Overexpressed RNase I was found in the periplasmic space to the same degree (~85%) as wild-type enzyme, suggesting no limitation in RNase I transport. The rna clone was used to identify a deletion strain totally lacking the rna gene. The normal growth of this strain showed that RNase I is not essential for cell viability. Extracts from the RNase I deletion strain still retained a low level of RNase activity in the presence of EDTA, conclusively demonstrating the existence of additional EDTA-active RNases in E. coli. The possibility of a RNase I inhibitor is also discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology