MOLECULAR BIOLOGY: Robust Survival Strategy?

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Science  14 Apr 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5464, pp. 229b-229
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5464.229b

The eubacterium Deinococcus radiodurans has an extraordinary ability to survive radiation-induced DNA damage. A clue to its survival strategy has emerged from a study of the Rsr protein, which is an ortholog of the 60-kilodalton eukaryotic protein Ro and was identified in the recently sequenced D. radiodurans genome. Although the function of Ro in eukaryotic cells is unclear, it associates with small cytoplasmic RNAs (called Y RNAs), as well as 5S ribosomal RNA, and is a major target in some human autoimmune diseases. Chen et al. have found that a D. radiodurans strain deficient in Rsr is significantly more sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) radiation than the wild-type, and that UV irradiation causes accumulation of a Y-like RNA that forms a complex with Rsr. Thus, Ro-like ribonucleoproteins play a role in the recovery of UV-irradiated D. radiodurans and, in principle, could do likewise in eukaryotic cells.—PAK

Genes Dev. 14, 777 (2000).

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