An in vitro study of the translational attenuation model of ermC regulation.

C. S. Narayanan, D. Dubnau

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We have used a Bacillus subtilis in vitro translation system to test the translational attenuation model for ermC regulation. The ermC gene product is known to methylate rRNA, rendering ribosomes unable to bind this antibiotic. We have shown that the induction of ermC methylase in vitro is post-transcriptional and specific for the macrolides erythromycin and oleandomycin. Erythromycin has no significant effect on the stability of the ermC transcript in vitro, and hence the post-transcriptional induction of methylase under these conditions occurs by stimulation of translation. The induction effect requires ribosomes able to bind erythromycin. By adding small proportions of unmethylated to a methylated extract in the presence of erythromycin, methylase synthesis could be induced. Conversely, when small amounts of methylated extracts were mixed with unmethylated extracts, methylase synthesis could be maintained at elevated levels in the presence of a high concentration of erythromycin. These effects were specific for the inducible ermC, were not observed with a constitutive variant, and could be explained satisfactorily by the translational attenuation model. The roles of three segments of the ermC leader in regulation were explored by probing with appropriate complementary synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides. The induction effect of erythromycin was mimicked by using an oligonucleotide that could free the ribosome binding site for methylase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1756-1765
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 5 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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