Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Open Access)


Colby College. Chemistry Dept.


Bradford P. Mundy

Second Advisor

Julie T. Millard


The 4.5S RNA molecule of Escherichia coli is essential to cell viability. It has been shown that depletion of this molecule inhibits protein synthesis, induces the heat shock response, and generally slows cell growth. The molecule has also been implicated in protein secretion, as in cells depleted of 4.5S RNA, an unsecreted precursor to ?-lactamase accumulates (pre-?-lactamase). A role in protein secretion is further supported by structural similarities with the 7S RNA molecule of eukaryotic SRP, specific binding to SRP54, and its homolog in E. coli, P48, and the ability of 7S RNA from certain archaebacteria to suppress 4.5S RNA depletion. In this study I have utilized strains with mutant forms of the 4.5S RNA genes in order to study the effect of altered 4.5S RNA on cell physiology. These strains have their mutant 4.55 RNA under the control of the tryptophan synthetic operon. Decreased growth rates, inhibited cell division, and altered protein synthesis all result from these mutations.


Escherichia coli, RNA

Included in

Chemistry Commons