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Cold induction of the Bacillus subtilis bkd operon is mediated by increased mRNA stability

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Georg Homuth, Dr Ulrike Mader


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Recently it has been demonstrated that the ptb - bcd - buk - lpdV - bkdAA - bkdAB - bkdB operon (bkd operon) of Bacillus subtilis, which encodes the enzymes that catalyze the degradation of branched-chain amino acids, is inducible by a temperature downshift from 37 to 18°C. Deamination and oxidative decarboxylation of isoleucine generates 2-methyl-butyryl-CoA, which serves as the precursor of anteiso-branched fatty acid species. Most probably, the induction of this operon upon cold shock ensures an increase in the content of anteisobranched fatty acids in the membrane lipids at low temperature, thus permitting maintenance of membrane fluidity at lower temperatures. In the present study, we have analyzed the mechanism of cold induction of the bkd operon and of four further cold-inducible transcriptional units in B. subtilis. We demonstrate that cold induction of these genes is mediated by an increase in the stability of the corresponding mRNAs. None of the promoters that control the five transcriptional units analyzed is actually cold-inducible. Furthermore, the results of this study indicate that the 5′ leader regions are not involved in the cold-induced stabilization of the mRNAs. The structural elements that enhance mRNA stability must therefore be restricted to the 3′-ends and/ or the coding regions. © Springer-Verlag 2004.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Nickel M, Homuth G, Bohnisch C, Mader U, Schweder T

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Year: 2004

Volume: 272

Issue: 1

Pages: 98-107

ISSN (print): 1617-4615

ISSN (electronic): 1617-4623

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00438-004-1038-0

PubMed id: 15241682


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