A ribosome profiling study of mRNA cleavage by the endonuclease RelE

Jae Yeon Hwang, Allen R. Buskirk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Implicated in persistence and stress response pathways in bacteria, RelE shuts down protein synthesis by cleaving mRNA within the ribosomal A site. Structural and biochemical studies have shown that RelE cuts with some sequence specificity, which we further characterize here, and that it shows no activity outside the context of the ribosome. We obtained a global view of the effect of RelE on translation by ribosome profiling, observing that ribosomes accumulate on the 5′-end of genes through dynamic cycles of mRNA cleavage, ribosome rescue and initiation. Moreover, the addition of purified RelE to cell lysates shows promise as a method for generating ribosome footprints. In bacteria, profiling studies have suffered from relatively low resolution and have yielded no information on reading frame due to problems inherent to MNase digestion, the method used to degrade unprotected regions of mRNA. In contrast, we find that RelE yields precise 3′-ends that for the first time reveal reading frame in bacteria. Given that RelE has been shown to function in all three domains of life, RelE has potential to improve reading frame and shed light on A-site occupancy in ribosome profiling experiments more broadly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)D327-D336
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 9 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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