Molecular Microbiology, October 2009, Vol.74(1), pp.139-158
The small RNA, ArcZ (previously RyhA/SraH), was discovered in several genome‐wide screens in and . Its high degree of genomic conservation, its frequent recovery by shotgun sequencing, and its association with the RNA chaperone, Hfq, identified ArcZ as an abundant enterobacterial ‘core’ small RNA, yet its function remained unknown. Here, we report that ArcZ acts as a post‐transcriptional regulator in , repressing the mRNAs of the widely distributed (serine uptake) and (oxidative stress) genes, and of STM3216, a horizontally acquired methyl‐accepting chemotaxis protein (MCP). Both and STM3216 are regulated by sequestration of the ribosome binding site. In contrast, the mRNA is targeted in the coding sequence (CDS), arguing that CDS targeting is more common than appreciated. Transcriptomic analysis of an deletion strain further argued for the existence of a distinct set of loci specifically regulated by ArcZ. In contrast, increased expression of the sRNA altered the steady‐state levels of 〉 16% (〉 750) of all mRNAs, and rendered the bacteria non‐motile. Deep sequencing detected a dramatically changed profile of Hfq‐bound sRNAs and mRNAs, suggesting that the unprecedented pleiotropic effects by a single sRNA might in part be caused by altered post‐transcriptional regulation.