Endoribonuclease RNase III is essential in Bacillus subtilis

M. A. Herskovitz, D. H. Bechhofer

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The rncS gene of Bacillus subtilis encodes Bs-RNase III, a narrow-specificity endoribonuclease. Previous attempts to disrupt rncS were unsuccessful. Here, a strain was constructed in which Bs-RNase III expression was dependent upon transcription of rncS from a temperature-sensitive plasmid. Growth of this strain at the non-permissive temperature resulted in 90-95% cell death, and virtually all the cells that survived retained the rncS-expressing plasmid. Thus, we conclude that rncS is essential in B. subtilis. The rncS conditional strain also revealed that Bs-RNase III participates in the processing of ribosomal RNA, in addition to processing small cytoplasmic RNA, a member of the signal recognition particle RNA family. Most significantly, a rare rncS null strain was isolated that will aid further study of the critical role Bs-RNase III plays in B. subtilis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1027-1033
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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