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Got RNA? 1,000 Antisense RNAs Discovered in E. coli

When a bacterium goes over the top with making a particular gene transcript, it needs a way to degrade that mRNA before it invests too much energy and resources in creating unneeded proteins. A new Observation piece accepted for the inaugural issue of mBio reveals that antisense RNAs may be an important and overlooked tool for regulating the amount of mRNA in bacterial cells. Dornenburg et al. describe the existence of around 1,000 antisense RNA molecules in Escherichia coli that they detected using a high-throughput method. The authors point out that sticky antisense RNA has a great potential for base-pairing with mRNA and could well be deployed to regulate the amounts of mRNA in a cell. Other studies have detected antisense RNAs in bacterial cells, but the high numbers of antisense RNA molecules discovered by Dornenburg et al. indicate they may play a more significant role in regulation than previously appreciated.

The unrevised version of Dornenburg et al. is available on the mBio website now. A final, typeset version of the article will appear in the inaugural issue of the online journal in May.

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