Summary: Small cytoplasmic RNA (scRNA) is a member of an evolutionary conserved signal-recognition-particle-like RNA family. Using a DNA fragment of scRNA gene as a probe, we cloned and characterized a gene encoding the scRNA. Mapping the 5′ and 3′ ends of scRNA revealed that scRNA consists of 269 nucleotides: the sequence has about 70% primary sequence homology with scRNA. The predicted secondary structure appeared to be similar to that of scRNA, indicating that there are domains I and II in scRNA, in addition to domain IV. Functional analysis showed that scRNA could compensate for vegetative growth and allow the formation of heat-resistant spores in an scRNA-depleted strain, whereas 4·5S RNA could not maintain sporulation. Since both 4·5S RNA and scRNA have the same binding specificity to Ffh protein, the difference in complementation activity reflects the function of domains I and II.


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