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Summary

Cells overexpressing the RNA-processing enzymes RNase III, RNase E and RNase P were fractionated into membrane and cytoplasm. The RNA-processing enzymes were associated with the membrane fraction. The membrane was further separated to inner and outer membrane and the three RNA-processing enzymes were found in the inner membrane fraction. By assaying for these enzymatic activities we showed that even in a normal wild-type strain of Escherichia coli these enzymes fractionate primarily with the membrane. The RNA part of RNase P is found in the cytosolic fraction of cells overexpressing this RNA, while the overexpressed RNase P protein sediments with the membrane fraction; this suggests that the RNase P protein anchors the RNA catalytic moiety of the enzyme to a larger entity. The implications of these findings for the cellular organization of the RNA-processing enzymes in the cell are discussed.