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Defining a minimal cell: essentiality of small ORFs and ncRNAs in a genome-reduced bacterium

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Official URL:https://doi.org/10.15252/msb.20145558
PubMed:View item in PubMed
Creators Name:Lluch-Senar, M. and Delgado, J. and Chen, W.-H. and Llorens-Rico, V. and O'Reilly, F.J. and Wodke, J.A.H. and Unal, E.B. and Yus, E. and Martinez, S. and Nichols, R.J. and Ferrar, T. and Vivancos, A. and Schmeisky, A. and Stuelke, J. and van Noort, V. and Gavin, A.-C. and Bork, P. and Serrano, L.
Journal Title:Molecular Systems Biology
Journal Abbreviation:Mol Syst Biol
Volume:11
Number:1
Page Range:780
Date:21 January 2015
Keywords:Minimal Genome, Non-Coding RNAs, Small Proteins
Abstract:Identifying all essential genomic components is critical for the assembly of minimal artificial life. In the genome-reduced bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae, we found that small ORFs (smORFs; < 100 residues), accounting for 10% of all ORFs, are the most frequently essential genomic components (53%), followed by conventional ORFs (49%). Essentiality of smORFs may be explained by their function as members of protein and/or DNA/RNA complexes. In larger proteins, essentiality applied to individual domains and not entire proteins, a notion we could confirm by expression of truncated domains. The fraction of essential non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) non-overlapping with essential genes is 5% higher than of non-transcribed regions (0.9%), pointing to the important functions of the former. We found that the minimal essential genome is comprised of 33% (269,410 bp) of the M. pneumoniae genome. Our data highlight an unexpected hidden layer of smORFs with essential functions, as well as non-coding regions, thus changing the focus when aiming to define the minimal essential genome.
ISSN:1744-4292
Publisher:EMBO Press
Item Type:Article

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