Complete growth inhibition of Escherichia coli by ribosome trapping with truncated cspA mRNA at low temperature

Weining Jiang, Li Fang, Masayori Inouye

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Background: CspA, the major cold-shock protein of Escherichia coli, is transiently induced upon temperature downshift and considered to play an important role in low-temperature adaptation. Results: Overproduction of truncated cspA mRNAs retaining translational ability was found to completely block cell growth at low temperatures. This effect was termed 'low-temperature antibiotic effect of truncated cspA expression (LACE)'. In contrast to the significant reduction of polysomes in normal cells upon cold shock, cells under LACE maintained a high polysome profile, producing only truncated cspA products. Growth inhibition of cells under LACE was suppressed when CspA was overproduced together with the truncated cspA mRNA. Conclusion: LACE is caused by the overproduction of a truncated cspA mRNA in the absence of CspA production, which in turn traps all the cellular ribosomes in a non-adaptive form incapable of forming initiation complexes with other cellular mRNAs. LACE may provide a novel approach to the development of a new antibiotic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-976
Number of pages12
JournalGenes to Cells
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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