Chapter 12 mRNA Interferases, Sequence-Specific Endoribonucleases from the Toxin-Antitoxin Systems

Yoshihiro Yamaguchi, Masayori Inouye

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Escherichia coli contains a large number of suicide or toxin genes, whose expression leads to cell growth arrest and eventual cell death. One such toxin, MazF, is an ACA-specific endoribonuclease, termed "mRNA interferase." E. coli contains other mRNA interferases with different sequence specificities, which are considered to play important roles in growth regulation under stress conditions, and also in eliminating stress-damaged cells from a population. Recently, MazF homologues with 5-base recognition sequences have been identified, for example, those from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. These sequences are significantly underrepresented in the genes for protein families playing a role in the immunity and pathogenesis of M. tuberculosis. An mRNA interferase in Myxococcus xanthus is essential for programmed cell death during fruiting body formation. We propose that mRNA interferases play roles not only in cell growth regulation and programmed cell death, but also in regulation of specific gene expression (either positively or negatively) in bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-500
Number of pages34
JournalProgress in Molecular Biology and Translational Science
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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