Charged tmRNA but not tmRNA-mediated proteolysis is essential for Neisseria gonorrhoeae viability

Canhui Huang, Matthew C. Wolfgang, Jeffrey Withey, Michael Koomey, David I. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


tmRNA, through its tRNA and mRNA properties, adds short peptide tags to abnormal proteins, targeting these proteins for proteolytic degradation. Although the conservation of tmRNA throughout the bacterial kingdom suggests that it must provide a strong selective advantage, it has not been shown to be essential for any bacterium. We report that tmRNA is essential in Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Although tagging per se appears to be required for gonococcal viability, tagging for proteolysis does not. This suggests that the essential roles of tmRNA in N. gonorrhoeae may include resolving stalled translation complexes and/or preventing depletion of free ribosomes. Although derivatives of N. gonorrhoeae expressing Escherichia coli tmRNA as their sole tmRNA were isolated, they appear to form colonies only after acquiring an extragenic suppressor(s).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1098-1107
Number of pages10
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2000


  • 10Sa RNA
  • Escherichia coli
  • SsrA RNA
  • Transtranslation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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