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    ABSTRACT: The various properties of RNA polymerase (RNAP) complexes with nucleic acids during different stages of transcription involve various types of regulation and different cross-talk with other cellular entities and with fellow RNAP molecules. The interactions of transcriptional apparatus with the translational machinery have been focused mainly in terms of outcomes of gene expression, whereas the study of the physical interaction of the ribosome and the RNAP remains obscure partly due to the lack of a system that allows such observations. In this article we will describe the methodology needed to set up a pure, transcription-coupled-to-translation system in which the translocation of the ribosome can be performed in a step-wise manner towards RNAP allowing investigation of the interactions between the two machineries at colliding and non-colliding distances. In the same time RNAP can be put in various types of states, such as paused, roadblocked, backtracked, etc. The experimental system thus allows studying the effects of the ribosome on different aspects of transcription elongation and the effects by RNAP on translation. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Methods
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    ABSTRACT: Division site selection presents a fundamental challenge to all organisms. Bacterial cells are small and the chromosome (nucleoid) often fills most of the cell volume. Thus, in order to maximise fitness and avoid damaging the genetic material, cell division must be tightly co-ordinated with chromosome replication and segregation. To achieve this, bacteria employ a number of different mechanisms to regulate division site selection. One such mechanism, termed nucleoid occlusion, allows the nucleoid to protect itself by acting as a template for nucleoid occlusion factors, which prevent Z-ring assembly over the DNA. These factors are sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins that exploit the precise organisation of the nucleoid, allowing them to act as both spatial and temporal regulators of bacterial cell division. The identification of proteins responsible for this process has provided a molecular understanding of nucleoid occlusion but it has also prompted the realisation that substantial levels of redundancy exist between the diverse systems that bacteria employ to ensure that division occurs in the right place, at the right time.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Current Opinion in Microbiology
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    ABSTRACT: The highly persistent and often lethal human pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis contains at least 88 toxin-antitoxin genes. More than half of these encode VapC PIN domain endoribonucleases that inhibit cell growth by unknown mechanisms. Here we show that VapC20 of M. tuberculosis inhibits translation by cleavage of the Sarcin-Ricin loop (SRL) of 23S ribosomal RNA at the same position where Sarcin and other eukaryotic ribotoxins cleave. Toxin-inhibited cells can be rescued by the expression of the antitoxin, thereby raising the possibility that vapC20 contributes to the extreme persistence exhibited by M. tuberculosis. VapC20 cleavage is inhibited by mutations in the SRL that flank the cleavage site but not by changes elsewhere in the loop. Disruption of the SRL stem abolishes cleavage; however, further mutations that restore the SRL stem structure restore cleavage, revealing that the structure rather than the exact sequence of the SRL is important for this activity.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2013 · Nature Communications
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