Deletion of the bldA gene of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2), which encodes the only tRNA for the rare UUA codon, had no obvious effects on primary growth but interfered with aerial mycelium formation and antibiotic production. To investigate the possible regulatory role of bldA, its transcription start point was identified, and time courses were determined for the appearance of its primary transcript, the processing of the primary transcript to give a mature 5' end, and the apparent efficiency of translation of ampC mRNA, which contains multiple UUA codons. The bldA promoter was active at all times, but processing of the 5' end of the primary transcript was comparatively inefficient in young cultures. This may perhaps involve an antisense RNA, evidence of which was provided by promoter probing and in vitro transcription. The presence of low levels of the processed form of the tRNA in young cultures followed by increased abundance in older cultures contrasted with the pattern observed for accumulation of a different, presumably typical tRNA which was approximately equally abundant throughout growth. The increased accumulation of the 5' processed form of bldA tRNA coincided with more-efficient translation of ampC mRNA in older cultures, supporting the hypothesis that in at least some physiological conditions, bldA may have a regulatory influence on events late in growth, such as morphological differentiation and antibiotic production
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