A mutant screen reveals RNase E as a silencer of group II intron retromobility in Escherichia coli. Academic Article uri icon


  • Group II introns are mobile retroelements that invade their hosts. The Lactococcus lactis group II intron recruits cellular polymerases, nucleases, and DNA ligase to complete the retromobility process in Escherichia coli. Here we describe a genetic screen with a Tn5 transposon library to identify other E. coli functions involved in retromobility of the L. lactis LtrB intron. Thirteen disruptions that reproducibly resulted in increased or decreased retrohoming levels into the E. coli chromosome were isolated. These functions were classified as factors involved in RNA processing, DNA replication, energy metabolism, and global regulation. Here we characterize a novel mutant in the rne promoter region, which regulates RNase E expression. Retrohoming and retrotransposition levels are elevated in the rneTn5 mutant. The stimulatory effect of the mutation on retromobility results from intron RNA accumulation in the RNase E mutant. These results suggest that RNase E, which is the central component of the RNA degradosome, could regulate retrohoming levels in response to cellular physiology.

publication date

  • December 2008