The suggested involvement of ribonuclease II in the maturation of rRNA has been examined directly by determining the activity of the enzyme and the amount of p16S rRNA in cell-free extracts from Escherichia coli A19 and its temperature-sensitive derivative N464 grown under experimental conditions designed to vary the amounts of enzyme and precursor independently. In strain A19 the enzyme showed maximum activity in circumstances where the amount of p16S rRNA was normal (e.g. exponential-phase cells) or raised eight times (e.g. during inhibition of growth by methionine starvation of the relaxed auxotroph or by chloramphenicol or puromycin treatment). In strain N464 at the non-permissive temperature the ribonuclease II activity may be decreased by 50% without effect upon the amount of p16S rRNA, whereas in methionine starvation of this strain the enzyme activity is at a maximum and the p16S rRNA is eight times that in exponential-phase cells. These observations are discussed in relation to the previously implied role of ribonuclease II in the maturation of rRNA within ribosome precursors.
- © 1974 London: The Biochemical Society