Growth phase-dependent variation of RNase BN/Z affects small RNAs

Hua Chen, Tanmay Dutta, Murray P. Deutscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


RNase BN, the RNase Z family member in E. coli, can participate in the processing of tRNA precursors. However, this function only becomes apparent when other processing enzymes are absent, raising the question of its primary physiological role. Here, we show that RNase BN itself is subject to growth phasedependent regulation, because both rbn mRNA and RNase BN protein are at their highest levels in early exponential phase, but then decrease dramatically and are essentially absent in stationary phase. As a consequence of this variation, certain small RNAs, such as 6S RNA, remain low in exponential phase cells, and increase greatly in stationary phase. RNase BN affects 6S RNAabundance by decreasing its stability in exponential phase. RNase BN levels increase rapidly as cells exit stationary phase and are primarily responsible for the decrease in 6S RNA that accompanies this process. Purified RNaseBNdirectly cleaves 6S RNA as shown by in vitro assays, and the 6S RNA:pRNA duplex is an even more favorable substrate of RNase BN. The exoribonuclease activity of RNase BN is unnecessary because all its action on 6S RNA is due to endonucleolytic cleavages. These data indicate that RNase BN plays an important role in determining levels of the global transcription regulator, 6S RNA, throughout the growth cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26435-26442
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 16 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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