Reconstituting bacterial RNA repair and modification in vitro

Science. 2009 Oct 9;326(5950):247. doi: 10.1126/science.1179480.


Ribotoxins kill cells by endonucleotically cleaving essential RNAs involved in protein translation. We report here that a stable heterotetramer composed of two bacterial proteins, Pnkp and Hen1, was able to repair transfer RNAs cleaved by ribotoxins in vitro. Before the broken RNAs were ligated by the heterotetramer, a methyl group was added to the 2'-OH group that participated in the original RNA cut. Because of the methylation, RNAs repaired by bacterial Pnkp/Hen1 heterotetramer could not be cleaved again by the ribotoxins. Thus, unlike eukaryotic Hen1 involved in RNA interference, the bacterial Hen1 is part of an RNA repair and modification system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anabaena
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Colicins / metabolism
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / metabolism
  • Methylation
  • Protein Multimerization
  • RNA, Bacterial / metabolism*
  • RNA, Transfer, Arg / metabolism*
  • RNA, Transfer, Asp / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Colicins
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Transfer, Arg
  • RNA, Transfer, Asp
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Endoribonucleases
  • colicin E5 protein, E coli