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  • 1
    In: mBio, 2017, Vol.8(4)
    Description: ABSTRACT L7Ae is a universal archaeal protein that recognizes and stabilizes kink-turn (k-turn) motifs in RNA substrates. These structural motifs are widespread in nature and are found in many functional RNA species, including ribosomal RNAs. Synthetic biology approaches utilize L7Ae/k-turn interactions to control gene expression in eukaryotes. Here, we present results of comprehensive RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (RIP-Seq) analysis of genomically tagged L7Ae from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus acidocaldarius . A large set of interacting noncoding RNAs was identified. In addition, several mRNAs, including the l7ae transcript, were found to contain k-turn motifs that facilitate L7Ae binding. In vivo studies showed that L7Ae autoregulates the translation of its mRNA by binding to a k-turn motif present in the 5′ untranslated region (UTR). A green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter system was established in Escherichia coli and verified conservation of L7Ae-mediated feedback regulation in Archaea . Mobility shift assays confirmed binding to a k-turn in the transcript of nop5-fibrillarin , suggesting that the expression of all C/D box sRNP core proteins is regulated by L7Ae. These studies revealed that L7Ae-mediated gene regulation evolved in archaeal organisms, generating new tools for the modulation of synthetic gene circuits in bacteria. IMPORTANCE L7Ae is an essential archaeal protein that is known to structure ribosomal RNAs and small RNAs (sRNAs) by binding to their kink-turn motifs. Here, we utilized RIP-Seq methodology to achieve a first global analysis of RNA substrates for L7Ae. Several novel interactions with noncoding RNA molecules (e.g., with the universal signal recognition particle RNA) were discovered. In addition, L7Ae was found to bind to mRNAs, including its own transcript’s 5′ untranslated region. This feedback-loop control is conserved in most archaea and was incorporated into a reporter system that was utilized to control gene expression in bacteria. These results demonstrate that L7Ae-mediated gene regulation evolved originally in archaeal organisms. The feedback-controlled reporter gene system can easily be adapted for synthetic biology approaches that require strict gene expression control.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Archaea ; Rna Binding Proteins ; Rna Structure ; Gene Regulation
    E-ISSN: 2150-7511
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: mBio, 01 December 2017, Vol.8(6), p.e01964-17
    Description: Bacterial persisters are phenotypic variants that survive antibiotic treatment in a dormant state and can be formed by multiple pathways. We recently proposed that the second messenger (p)ppGpp drives Escherichia coli persister formation through protease Lon and activation of toxin-antitoxin (TA) modules. This model found considerable support among researchers studying persisters but also generated controversy as part of recent debates in the field. In this study, we therefore used our previous work as a model to critically examine common experimental procedures to understand and overcome the inconsistencies often observed between results of different laboratories. Our results show that seemingly simple antibiotic killing assays are very sensitive to variations in culture conditions and bacterial growth phase. Additionally, we found that some assay conditions cause the killing of antibiotic-tolerant persisters via induction of cryptic prophages. Similarly, the inadvertent infection of mutant strains with bacteriophage ϕ80, a notorious laboratory contaminant, apparently caused several of the phenotypes that we reported in our previous studies. We therefore reconstructed all infected mutants and probed the validity of our model of persister formation in a refined assay setup that uses robust culture conditions and unravels the dynamics of persister cells through all bacterial growth stages. Our results confirm the importance of (p)ppGpp and Lon but no longer support a role of TA modules in E. coli persister formation under unstressed conditions. We anticipate that the results and approaches reported in our study will lay the ground for future work in the field.
    Keywords: Biology
    E-ISSN: 2150-7511
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