The RNA degradosome of Escherichia coli: an mRNA-degrading machine assembled on RNase E

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2007;61:71-87. doi: 10.1146/annurev.micro.61.080706.093440.


The RNA degradosome of Escherichia coli is a multiprotein complex involved in the degradation of mRNA. The principal components are RNase E, PNPase, RhlB, and enolase. RNase E is a large multidomain protein with an N-terminal catalytic region and a C-terminal noncatalytic region that is mostly natively unstructured protein. The noncatalytic region contains sites for binding RNA and for protein-protein interactions with other components of the RNA degradosome. Several recent studies suggest that there are alternative forms of the RNA degradosome depending on growth conditions or other factors. These alternative forms appear to modulate RNase E activity in the degradation of mRNA. RNA degradosome-like complexes appear to be conserved throughout the Proteobacteria, but there is a surprising variability in composition that might contribute to the adaptation of these bacteria to the enormously wide variety of niches in which they live.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / chemistry
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases / physiology
  • Endoribonucleases / chemistry
  • Endoribonucleases / physiology*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / chemistry
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / physiology
  • Multienzyme Complexes / chemistry
  • Multienzyme Complexes / physiology*
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / chemistry
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / physiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Polyribonucleotide Nucleotidyltransferase / chemistry
  • Polyribonucleotide Nucleotidyltransferase / physiology*
  • RNA Helicases / chemistry
  • RNA Helicases / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • degradosome
  • Polyribonucleotide Nucleotidyltransferase
  • Endoribonucleases
  • ribonuclease E
  • RhlB protein, E coli
  • DEAD-box RNA Helicases
  • RNA Helicases
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase