Polyadenylation of stable RNA precursors in vivo

Zhongwei Li, Shilpa Pandit, Murray P. Deutscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Polyadenylation at the 3' terminus has long been considered a specific feature of mRNA and a few other unstable RNA species. Here we show that stable RNAs in Escherichia coli can be polyadenylated as well. RNA molecules with poly(A) tails are the major products that accumulate for essentially all stable RNA precursors when RNA maturation is slowed because of the absence of processing exoribonucleases; poly(A) tails vary from one to seven residues in length. The polyadenylation process depends on the presence of poly(A) polymerase I. A stochastic competition between the exoribonucleases and poly(A) polymerase is proposed to explain the accumulation of polyadenylated RNAs. These data indicate that polyadenylation is not unique to mRNA, and its widespread occurrence suggests that it serves a more general function in RNA metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12158-12162
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - Oct 13 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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