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Neo : Novel Protein

Neo : Novel Protein:

Recent research has discovered a novel protein, referred to as “Neo,” which plays a critical role in bacterial defence mechanisms against viral infections, particularly bacteriophages.

  • It was reported by researchers led by Stephen Tang and Samuel Sternberg in a 2023 preprint paper on bioRxiv while working on Klebsiella pneumoniae.
  • Bacteria defend themselves from viral infection (against bacteriophages) using diverse immune systems, many of which sense and target foreign nucleic acids. Defense-associated reverse transcriptase (DRT) systems are one of them.
  • In the DRT-2 system, the bacteria undergo de novo gene synthesis via rolling-circle reverse transcription (RT) of a non-coding RNA (ncRNA).
  • In uninfected bacterial cells, the ncRNA and RT enzyme lead to the synthesis of a repetitive single-stranded cDNA.
  • The presence of phage triggers the second-strand cDNA synthesis, leading to the production of long double-stranded DNA.
  • This double-strand cDNA generates messenger RNAs that encode a stop codon-less, never-ending open-reading frame (neo) whose translation (neo protein) causes potent growth arrest (cell dormancy) of bacteria. It protects the larger bacterial population from the spread of phage.