The 7S RNA, a precursor of 5S rRNA that contains 5S rRNA and the termination stem and loop, is a substrate for RNase E and is also a substrate for RNase III. The cleavage by RNase III is in the stem, 11 nucleotides downstream from the 3' end of the mature 5S rRNA and 8 nucleotides downstream from the RNase E cleavage site. Near the cleaved nucleotides there are three base pairs that appear in the same relative positions in most known RNase III cleavage sites. The large product of the RNase III cleavage reaction, which is a 5S rRNA that contains 11 extra nucleotides at the 3' end, is a substrate for RNase E. This suggests that the information for the 3′-end cleavage by RNase E resides mainly in the 5S rRNA itself. Using rnc rne strains, carrying the plasmid that leads to the accumulation of IS RNA, we showed that the 7S RNA does not result from an RNase III cleavage but is apparently a proper transcription termination product.
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