PNPase is involved in the coordination of mRNA degradation and expression in stationary phase cells of Escherichia coli

Clémentine Dressaire, Vânia Pobre, Sandrine Laguerre, Laurence Girbal, Cecilia Maria Arraiano, Muriel Cocaign-Bousquet

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Background: Exoribonucleases are crucial for RNA degradation in Escherichia coli but the roles of RNase R and PNPase and their potential overlap in stationary phase are not well characterized. Here, we used a genome-wide approach to determine how RNase R and PNPase affect the mRNA half-lives in the stationary phase. The genome-wide mRNA half-lives were determined by a dynamic analysis of transcriptomes after transcription arrest. We have combined the analysis of mRNA half-lives with the steady-state concentrations (transcriptome) to provide an integrated overview of the in vivo activity of these exoribonucleases at the genome-scale. Results: The values of mRNA half-lives demonstrated that the mRNAs are very stable in the stationary phase and that the deletion of RNase R or PNPase caused only a limited mRNA stabilization. Intriguingly the absence of PNPase provoked also the destabilization of many mRNAs. These changes in mRNA half-lives in the PNPase deletion strain were associated with a massive reorganization of mRNA levels and also variation in several ncRNA concentrations. Finally, the in vivo activity of the degradation machinery was found frequently saturated by mRNAs in the PNPase mutant unlike in the RNase R mutant, suggesting that the degradation activity is limited by the deletion of PNPase but not by the deletion of RNase R. Conclusions: This work had identified PNPase as a central player associated with mRNA degradation in stationary phase.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5259
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2018


  • E. coli
  • Gene expression regulation
  • PNPase
  • RNA decay
  • RNase R
  • Transcriptome


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