Analysis of Escherichia coli RNase E and RNase III activity in vivo using tiling microarrays

Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Apr;39(8):3188-203. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq1242. Epub 2010 Dec 11.


Tiling microarrays have proven to be a valuable tool for gaining insights into the transcriptomes of microbial organisms grown under various nutritional or stress conditions. Here, we describe the use of such an array, constructed at the level of 20 nt resolution for the Escherichia coli MG1655 genome, to observe genome-wide changes in the steady-state RNA levels in mutants defective in either RNase E or RNase III. The array data were validated by comparison to previously published results for a variety of specific transcripts as well as independent northern analysis of additional mRNAs and sRNAs. In the absence of RNase E, 60% of the annotated coding sequences showed either increases or decreases in their steady-state levels. In contrast, only 12% of the coding sequences were affected in the absence of RNase III. Unexpectedly, many coding sequences showed decreased abundance in the RNase E mutant, while more than half of the annotated sRNAs showed changes in abundance. Furthermore, the steady-state levels of many transcripts showed overlapping effects of both ribonucleases. Data are also presented demonstrating how the arrays were used to identify potential new genes, RNase III cleavage sites and the direct or indirect control of specific biological pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cysteine / biosynthesis
  • Endoribonucleases / genetics
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / enzymology*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / analysis
  • Ribonuclease III / genetics
  • Ribonuclease III / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Untranslated
  • Endoribonucleases
  • Ribonuclease III
  • ribonuclease E
  • Cysteine