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Combined actions of multiple hairpin loop structures and sites of rate-limiting endonucleolytic cleavage determine differential degradation rates of individual segments within polycistronic puf operon mRNA.

By G Klug and S N Cohen


Differential expression of the genes within the puf operon of Rhodobacter capsulatus is accomplished in part by differences in the rate of degradation of different segments of the puf transcript. We report here that decay of puf mRNA sequences specifying the light-harvesting I (LHI) and reaction center (RC) photosynthetic membrane peptides is initiated endoribonucleolytically within a discrete 1.4-kilobase segment of the RC-coding region. Deletion of this segment increased the half-life of the RC-coding region from 8 to 20 min while not affecting decay of LHI-coding sequences upstream from an intercistronic hairpin loop structure shown previously to impede 3'-to-5' degradation. Prolongation of RC segment half-life was dependent on the presence of other hairpin structures 3' to the RC region. Inserting the endonuclease-sensitive sites into the LHI-coding segment markedly accelerated its degradation. Our results suggest that differential degradation of the RC- and LHI-coding segments of puf mRNA is accomplished at least in part by the combined actions of RC region-specific endonuclease(s), one or more exonucleases, and several strategically located exonuclease-impeding hairpins

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1990
DOI identifier: 10.1128/jb.172.9.5140-5146.1990
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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