Some rRNA operons in E. coli have tRNA genes at their distal ends

Cell. 1978 Feb;13(2):335-44. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(78)90202-7.


We have previously isolated seven rRNA operons on plasmids or lambda transducing phages and identified various tRNAs encoded by these operons. Each of the seven operons has one of two different spacer tRNA gene arrangements between the genes for 16S and 23S rRNA: either tRNAGlu2 or both tRNAIle1 and tRNAAla1B genes. In addition, various tRNA genes are located at or near the distal ends of rRNA operons. In particular, genes for tRNATrp and tRNAAsp1 are located at the distal end of rrnC at 83 min on the E. coli chromosome. Experiments with various hybrid plasmids, some of which lack the rRNA promoter, have now demonstrated that this promoter is necessary for expression of the distal tRNA genes. Rifampicin run-out experiments have also provided evidence that the tRNATrp gene is located farther from its promoter than the spacer tRNA gene or the 5S RNA gene. These results confirm the localization of genes for tRNATrp and tRNAAsp1 at the distal end of rrnC and strongly suggest that they are co-transcribed with the genes for 16S, tRNAGlu2, 23S and 5S RNA. Other such distal tRNAs have been identified, and it is suggested that they too are part of rRNA operons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Bacterial
  • Escherichia coli / genetics*
  • Genes
  • Operon*
  • Plasmids
  • RNA, Bacterial / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Ribosomal / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Transfer / biosynthesis*
  • Rifampin / pharmacology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • RNA, Transfer
  • Rifampin