• Open Access

Regulation of morphological differentiation in S. coelicolor by RNase III (AbsB) cleavage of mRNA encoding the AdpA transcription factor


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RNase III family enzymes, which are perhaps the most widely conserved of all ribonucleases, are known primarily for their role in the processing and maturation of small RNAs. The RNase III gene of Streptomyces coelicolor, which was discovered initially as a global regulator of antibiotic production in this developmentally complex bacterial species and named absB (antibiotic biosynthesis gene B), has subsequently also been found to modulate the cellular abundance of multiple messenger RNAs implicated in morphological differentiation. We report here that regulation of differentiation-related mRNAs by the S. coelicolor AbsB/RNase III enzyme occurs largely by ribonucleolytic cleavage of transcripts encoding the pleiotropic transcription factor, AdpA, and that AdpA and AbsB participate in a novel feedback-control loop that reciprocally regulates the cellular levels of both proteins. Our results reveal a previously unsuspected mechanism for global ribonuclease-mediated control of gene expression in streptomycetes.