Recognition and specific degradation of bacteriophage T4 mRNAs.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Gene 61.5 of bacteriophage T4 has a unique role in gene expression. When this gene is mutated, mRNAs of many late genes are rapidly degraded, resulting in late-gene silencing. Here, we characterize an extragenic suppressor, ssf5, of a gene 61.5 mutation. ssf5 was found to be an amber mutation in motA, which encodes a transcription activator for T4 middle genes. When this gene is mutated, both degradation and specific cleavage of late-gene mRNA is induced after a delay, as exemplified by soc mRNA. Consequently, partial late-gene expression occurs. In an ssf5 genetic background, a gene 61.5 mutation exhibits a novel phenotype: in contrast to late-gene mRNA, middle-gene mRNA is stabilized and the expression of middle genes is prolonged. This is attributable to an activity of gene 61.5 specific for degradation of middle-gene mRNA. The degradation of middle-gene mRNA in the presence of a normal gene 61.5 appears in parallel with the degradation of late-gene mRNA in its absence. This observation suggests that the mRNA-degrading activity that silences late genes in cells infected with a gene 61.5 mutant is targeted to middle-gene mRNA when gene 61.5 is wild type. These results and the results obtained in the presence of a normal motA gene suggest that gene 61.5 protein functions to discriminate mRNAs for degradation in a stage-dependent manner.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ueno, H; Yonesaki, T

Published Date

  • May 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 158 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 7 - 17

PubMed ID

  • 11333214

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1461626

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0016-6731


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States