Escherichia coli mrsC is an allele of hflB, encoding a membrane- associated ATPase and protease that is required for mRNA decay

Rong Fu Wang, Eileen B. O'Hara, Marti Aldea, Cornelia I. Bargmann, Heather Gromley, Sidney R. Kushner

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26 Scopus citations


The mrsC gene of Escherichia coli is required for mRNA turnover and cell growth, and strains containing the temperature-sensitive mrsC505 allele have longer half-lives than wild-type controls for total pulse-labeled and individual mRNAs (L. L. Granger et al., J. Bacteriol. 180:1920-1928, 1998). The cloned mrsC gene contains a long open reading frame beginning at an initiator UUG codon, confirmed by N-terminal amino acid sequencing, encoding a 70,996-Da protein with a consensus ATP-binding domain. mrsC is identical to the independently identified fish gene except for three additional amino acids at the N terminus (T. Tomoyasu et al., J. Bacteriol. 175:1344-1351, 1993). The purified protein had a K(m) of 28 μM for ATP and a V(max) of 21.2 nmol/μg/min. An amino-terminal glutathione S-transferase-MrsC fusion protein retained ATPase activity but was not biologically active. A glutamic acid replacement of the highly conserved lysine within the ATP-binding motif (mrsC201) abolished the complementation of the mrsC505 mutation, confirming that the ATPase activity is required for MrsC function in vivo. In addition, the mrsC505 allele conferred a temperature-sensitive HflB phenotype, while the hflB29 mutation promoted mRNA stability at both 30 and 44°C, suggesting that the inviability associated with the mrsC505 allele is not related to the defect in mRNA decay. The data presented provide the first direct evidence for the involvement of a membrane-bound protein in mRNA decay in E. coli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1929-1938
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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