Studies of the RNA degradosome-organizing domain of the Escherichia coli Ribonuclease RNase E

Anastasia Callaghan, J. Aurikko, L. Ilag, J. Gunter Grossmann, V. Chandran, K. Kuhnel, L. Poljak, A. Carpousis, Carol V. Robinson, M. Symmons, B. Luisi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hydrolytic endoribonuclease RNase E, which is widely distributed in bacteria and plants, plays key roles in mRNA degradation and RNA processing in Escherichia coli. The enzymatic activity of RNase E is contained within the conserved amino-terminal half of the 118 kDa protein, and the carboxy-terminal half organizes the RNA degradosome, a multi-enzyme complex that degrades mRNA co-operatively and processes ribosomal and other RNA. The study described herein demonstrates that the carboxy-terminal domain of RNase E has little structure under native conditions and is unlikely to be extensively folded within the degradosome. However, three isolated segments of 10–40 residues, and a larger fourth segment of 80 residues, are predicted to be regions of increased structural propensity. The larger of these segments appears to be a protein–RNA interaction site while the other segments possibly correspond to sites of self-recognition and interaction with the other degradosome proteins. The carboxy-terminal domain of RNase E may thus act as a flexible tether of the degradosome components. The implications of these and other observations for the organization of the RNA degradosome are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-979
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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