BR-Bodies Provide Selectively Permeable Condensates that Stimulate mRNA Decay and Prevent Release of Decay Intermediates

Mol Cell. 2020 May 21;78(4):670-682.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.04.001. Epub 2020 Apr 27.


Biomolecular condensates play a key role in organizing RNAs and proteins into membraneless organelles. Bacterial RNP-bodies (BR-bodies) are a biomolecular condensate containing the RNA degradosome mRNA decay machinery, but the biochemical function of such organization remains poorly defined. Here, we define the RNA substrates of BR-bodies through enrichment of the bodies followed by RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). We find that long, poorly translated mRNAs, small RNAs, and antisense RNAs are the main substrates, while rRNA, tRNA, and other conserved non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) are excluded from these bodies. BR-bodies stimulate the mRNA decay rate of enriched mRNAs, helping to reshape the cellular mRNA pool. We also observe that BR-body formation promotes complete mRNA decay, avoiding the buildup of toxic endo-cleaved mRNA decay intermediates. The combined selective permeability of BR-bodies for both enzymes and substrates together with the stimulation of the sub-steps of mRNA decay provide an effective organization strategy for bacterial mRNA decay.

Keywords: BR-bodies; RNP granules; Ribonuclease E; biomolecular condensates; mRNA decay; phase separation; ribonucleoprotein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caulobacter crescentus / genetics
  • Caulobacter crescentus / growth & development
  • Caulobacter crescentus / metabolism*
  • Endoribonucleases / genetics
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics
  • Multienzyme Complexes / metabolism*
  • Organelles / genetics
  • Organelles / metabolism*
  • Polyribonucleotide Nucleotidyltransferase / genetics
  • Polyribonucleotide Nucleotidyltransferase / metabolism*
  • RNA Helicases / genetics
  • RNA Helicases / metabolism*
  • RNA Stability*
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics
  • RNA, Antisense / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • RNA, Ribosomal / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Small Untranslated / metabolism
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics
  • RNA, Transfer / metabolism
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism


  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • RNA, Antisense
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Small Untranslated
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • degradosome
  • RNA, Transfer
  • Polyribonucleotide Nucleotidyltransferase
  • Endoribonucleases
  • RNA Helicases