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Overexpression and rapid purification of the orfE/rph gene product, RNase PH of Escherichia coli.

The pyrE gene, encoding the pyrimidine biosynthetic enzyme orotate phosphoribosyltransferase, is the promoter distal gene of the dicistronic orfE-pyrE operon. The promoter proximal orfE gene, whose transcription and translation is important for regulation of the pyrE attenuator, encodes a 238-amino acid residue protein which was recently identified as the phosphorolytic ribonuclease, RNase PH, that removes nucleotides from the 3' ends of tRNA precursors. In this paper we report the construction of a plasmid, which overexpresses the orfE and pyrE gene products substantially, as well as the purification of the OrfE protein by ammonium sulfate precipitation and chromatography on phosphocellulose. The highly purified protein catalyzes the phosphorolytic cleavage of poly(A) at a rate of 1.6 mumol/min/mg and the formation of CDP from tRNA-CCA-Cn and orthophosphate at a rate equal to 0.14 mumol/min/mg, as characteristic for RNase PH. OrfE/RNase PH contains helix-turn-helix motifs resembling those in DNA-binding proteins, and it binds nonspecifically to DNA. On SDS gels, OrfE/RNase PH migrates as two distinct protein bands. This heterogeneity might be caused by post-translational modification other than proteolysis, or may be an electrophoretic artifact. The native protein is composed of two or more subunits.[1]


  1. Overexpression and rapid purification of the orfE/rph gene product, RNase PH of Escherichia coli. Jensen, K.F., Andersen, J.T., Poulsen, P. J. Biol. Chem. (1992) [Pubmed]
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