Published on Oct. 9, 2009 in Science volume 326.
PubMed ID: 19815768
Ribotoxins kill cells by endonucleotically cleaving essential RNAs involved in protein translation. We report here that a stable heterotetramer composed of two bacterial proteins, Pnkp and Hen1, was able to repair transfer RNAs cleaved by ribotoxins in vitro. Before the broken RNAs were ligated by the heterotetramer, a methyl group was added to the 2'-OH group that participated in the original RNA cut. Because of the methylation, RNAs repaired by bacterial Pnkp/Hen1 heterotetramer could not be cleaved again by the ribotoxins. Thus, unlike eukaryotic Hen1 involved in RNA interference, the bacterial Hen1 is part of an RNA repair and modification system.