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1.  A method for selecting cis-acting regulatory sequences that respond to small molecule effectors 
BMC Molecular Biology  2010;11:56.
Several cis-acting regulatory sequences functioning at the level of mRNA or nascent peptide and specifically influencing transcription or translation have been described. These regulatory elements often respond to specific chemicals.
We have developed a method that allows us to select cis-acting regulatory sequences that respond to diverse chemicals. The method is based on the β-lactamase gene containing a random sequence inserted into the beginning of the ORF. Several rounds of selection are used to isolate sequences that suppress β-lactamase expression in response to the compound under study. We have isolated sequences that respond to erythromycin, troleandomycin, chloramphenicol, meta-toluate and homoserine lactone. By introducing synonymous and non-synonymous mutations we have shown that at least in the case of erythromycin the sequences act at the peptide level. We have also tested the cross-activities of the constructs and found that in most cases the sequences respond most strongly to the compound on which they were isolated.
Several selected peptides showed ligand-specific changes in amino acid frequencies, but no consensus motif could be identified. This is consistent with previous observations on natural cis-acting peptides, showing that it is often impossible to demonstrate a consensus. Applying the currently developed method on a larger scale, by selecting and comparing an extended set of sequences, might allow the sequence rules underlying the activity of cis-acting regulatory peptides to be identified.
PMCID: PMC2928234  PMID: 20698993
2.  Functional interaction between RNase III and the Escherichia coli ribosome 
RNase III is a dsRNA specific endoribonuclease which is involved in the primary processing of rRNA and several mRNA species in bacteria. Both primary structural elements and the secondary structure of the substrate RNA play a role in cleavage specificity.
We have analyzed RNase III cleavage sites around both ends of pre-23 S rRNA in the ribosome and in the protein-free pre-rRNA. It was found that in the protein-free pre-23 S rRNA the main cleavage site is at position (-7) in respect of the mature 5' end. When pre-23 S rRNA was in 70 S ribosomes or in 50 S subunits, the RNase III cleavage occurred at position (-3). We have demonstrated that RNase III interacts with both ribosomal subunits and with even higher affinity with 70 S ribosomes. Association of RNase III with 70 S ribosomes cannot be dissociated by poly(U) RNA indicating that the binding is specific.
In addition to the primary and secondary structural elements in RNA, protein binding to substrate RNA can be a determinant of the RNase III cleavage site.
PMCID: PMC165447  PMID: 12814522

Results 1-2 (2)