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

Lluch-Senar, Maria; Delgado, Javier; Chen, Wei-Hua; Lloréns-Rico, Verónica; O'Reilly, Francis J; Wodke, Judith Ah; Unal, E Besray; Yus, Eva; Martínez, Sira; Nichols, Robert J; Ferrar, Tony; Vivancos, Ana; Schmeisky, Arne; Stülke, Jörg; van Noort, Vera; Gavin, Anne-Claude; Bork, Peer; Serrano, Luis.
Mol Syst Biol; 11(1): 780, 2015 Jan 21.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25609650
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.
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