Identification of a T4 gene required for bacteriophage mRNA processing.
A ribonucleolytic activity that cleaves within the Shine/Dalgarno sequences of the bacteriophage T4 motA and ORF2 mRNAs was recently described. We have identified additional sites of processing within several other ribosome binding sites, including two sites in the polycistronic frd transcript. Deletion mutants (farP) that overproduce the product of frd are defective in this mRNA processing. The mutants were used to identify processing events dependent on the T4 activity including attack at nuclease-sensitive sites within the coding sequences of some genes and within the intercistronic region 5' of gene 43. All known processing sites lie within similar sequences. Another mutant in mRNA processing carries a point mutation in one of the open reading frames (orf61.9) removed by the farP deletions. Introduction of a cloned copy of this open reading frame into a unique site in the chromosome of farP phage is sufficient to restore mRNA processing capability. The open reading frame probably encodes the T4 regB protein.