RNase R affects gene expression in stationary phase: regulation of ompA

Mol Microbiol. 2006 Apr;60(1):219-28. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2006.05092.x.


In nature, bacteria remain mostly in the stationary phase of the life cycle. Although mRNA is a major determinant of gene expression, little is known about mRNA decay in the stationary phase. The results presented herein demonstrate that RNase R is induced in stationary phase and is involved in the post-transcriptional regulation of ompA mRNA. This work is the first report of RNase R activity on a full length mRNA. In the absence of RNase R in a single rnr mutant, higher levels of ompA mRNA are found as a consequence of the stabilization of ompA full transcript. This effect is growth-phase-specific and not a growth-rate-dependent event. These higher levels of ompA mRNA were correlated with increases in the amounts of OmpA protein. We have also analysed the role of other factors that could affect ompA mRNA stability in stationary phase. RNase E was found to have the most important role, followed by polyadenylation. PNPase also affected the decay of the ompA transcript but RNase II did not seem to contribute much to this degradation process. The participation of RNase R in poly(A)-dependent pathways of decay in stationary phase of growth is discussed. The results show that RNase R can be a modulator of gene expression in stationary phase cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Culture Media
  • Endoribonucleases / genetics
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Exoribonucleases
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • RNA Stability*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Culture Media
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • OMPA outer membrane proteins
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Exoribonucleases
  • ribonuclease R