Properties of a Bacillus subtilis polynucleotide phosphorylase deletion strain

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The pnpA gene of Bacillus subtilis, which codes for polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase), has been cloned and employed in the construction of pnpA deletion mutants. Growth defects of both B. subtilis and Escherichia coli PNPase-deficient strains were complemented with the cloned pnpA gene. RNA decay characteristics of the B. subtilis pnpA mutant were studied, including the in vivo decay of bulk mRNA and the in vitro decay of either poly(A) or total cellular RNA. The results showed that mRNA decay in the pnpA mutant is accomplished despite the absence of the major P(i)-dependent RNA decay activity of PNPase. In vitro experiments suggested that a previously identified, Mn2+-dependent hydrolytic activity was important for decay in the pnpA mutant. In addition to a cold-sensitive-growth phenotype, the pnpA deletion mutant was found to be sensitive to growth in the presence of tetracycline, and this was due to an increased intracellular accumulation of the drug. The pnpA deletion strain also exhibited multiseptate, filamentous growth. It is hypothesized that defective processing of specific RNAs in the pnpA mutant results in these phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2375-2382
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1996


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