2013, Vol.9(9), p.e1003626
Small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) are ubiquitous posttranscriptional regulators of gene expression. Using the model plant-pathogenic bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. vesicatoria ( Xcv ), we investigated the highly expressed and conserved sRNA sX13 in detail. Deletion of sX13 impinged on Xcv virulence and the expression of genes encoding components and substrates of the Hrp type III secretion (T3S) system. qRT-PCR analyses revealed that sX13 promotes mRNA accumulation of HrpX, a key regulator of the T3S system, whereas the mRNA level of the master regulator HrpG was unaffected. Complementation studies suggest that sX13 acts upstream of HrpG. Microarray analyses identified 63 sX13-regulated genes, which are involved in signal transduction, motility, transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation and virulence. Structure analyses of in vitro transcribed sX13 revealed a structure with three stable stems and three apical C-rich loops. A computational search for putative regulatory motifs revealed that sX13-repressed mRNAs predominantly harbor G-rich motifs in proximity of translation start sites. Mutation of sX13 loops differentially affected Xcv virulence and the mRNA abundance of putative targets. Using a GFP-based reporter system, we demonstrated that sX13-mediated repression of protein synthesis requires both the C-rich motifs in sX13 and G-rich motifs in potential target mRNAs. Although the RNA-binding protein Hfq was dispensable for sX13 activity, the hfq mRNA and Hfq::GFP abundance were negatively regulated by sX13. In addition, we found that G-rich motifs in sX13-repressed mRNAs can serve as translational enhancers and are located at the ribosome-binding site in 5% of all protein-coding Xcv genes. Our study revealed that sX13 represents a novel class of virulence regulators and provides insights into sRNA-mediated modulation of adaptive processes in the plant pathogen Xanthomonas . ; Since the discovery of the first regulatory RNA in 1981, hundreds of small RNAs (sRNAs) have been identified in bacteria. Although sRNA-mediated control of virulence was demonstrated for numerous animal- and human-pathogenic bacteria, sRNAs and their functions in plant-pathogenic bacteria have been enigmatic. We discovered that the sRNA sX13 is a novel virulence regulator of pv. (), which causes bacterial spot disease on pepper and tomato. sX13 contributes to the -plant interaction by promoting the synthesis of an essential pathogenicity factor of , i. e., the type III secretion system. Thus, in addition to transcriptional regulation, sRNA-mediated posttranscriptional regulation contributes to virulence of plant-pathogenic xanthomonads. To repress target mRNAs carrying G-rich motifs, sX13 employs C-rich loops. Hence, sX13 exhibits striking structural similarity to sRNAs in distantly related human pathogens, e. g., and , suggesting that structure-driven target regulation via C-rich motifs represents a conserved feature of sRNA-mediated posttranscriptional regulation. Furthermore, sX13 is the first sRNA shown to control the mRNA level of , which encodes a conserved RNA-binding protein required for sRNA activity and virulence in many enteric bacteria.
Research Article ; Biology