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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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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: mBio, 04/30/2019, Vol.10(2)
    Description: Proteins comprised of 50 or fewer amino acids have been shown to interact with and modulate the functions of larger proteins in a range of organisms. Despite the possible importance of small proteins, the true prevalence and capabilities of these regulators remain unknown as the small size of the proteins places serious limitations on their identification, purification, and characterization. Here, we present a ribosome profiling approach with stalled initiation complexes that led to the identification of 38 new small proteins.Small proteins consisting of 50 or fewer amino acids have been identified as regulators of larger proteins in bacteria and eukaryotes. Despite the importance of these molecules, the total number of small proteins remains unknown because conventional annotation pipelines usually exclude small open reading frames (smORFs). We previously identified several dozen small proteins in the model organism Escherichia coli using theoretical bioinformatic approaches based on sequence conservation and matches to canonical ribosome binding sites. Here, we present an empirical approach for discovering new proteins, taking advantage of recent advances in ribosome profiling in which antibiotics are used to trap newly initiated 70S ribosomes at start codons. This approach led to the identification of many novel initiation sites in intergenic regions in E. coli. We tagged 41 smORFs on the chromosome and detected protein synthesis for all but three. Not only are the corresponding genes intergenic but they are also found antisense to other genes, in operons, and overlapping other open reading frames (ORFs), some impacting the translation of larger downstream genes. These results demonstrate the utility of this method for identifying new genes, regardless of their genomic context.
    Keywords: Ribo-Seq ; Small Protein ; Alternate Orfs ; Antisense ; Genome Annotation ; Leader Peptide ; Biology;
    ISSN: mBio
    ISSN: 21612129
    E-ISSN: 2150-7511
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: mBio, 04/30/2019, Vol.10(2)
    Description: The ability of bacteria to sense and respond to environmental signals is critical for survival. Bacteria use cyclic dinucleotides as second messengers to regulate a number of physiological processes, such as the fundamental life style transition between motility and sessility (biofilm formation). cGAMP, which is synthesized by a dinucleotide cyclase called DncV, is a newly discovered second messenger involved in virulence and chemotaxis in the Vibrio cholerae biovar El Tor causing the current 7th cholera pandemic. However, to what extent cGAMP exists and participates in physiological processes in other bacteria is still unknown. In this study, we found an elevated cGAMP level to possibly regulate biofilm formation and motility in the animal commensal E. coli strain ECOR31. Thus, we detected a novel role for cGAMP signaling in regulation of physiological processes other than those previously reported in proteobacterial species.Cyclic dinucleotides (cDNs) act as intracellular second messengers, modulating bacterial physiology to regulate the fundamental life style transition between motility and sessility commonly known as biofilm formation. Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP), synthesized by the dinucleotide cyclase DncV, is a newly discovered cDN second messenger involved in virulence and chemotaxis in Vibrio cholerae O1 biovar El Tor. Here we report a novel role for horizontally transferred DncV in cGAMP production and regulation of biofilm formation and motility in the animal commensal strain Escherichia coli ECOR31. ECOR31 expresses a semiconstitutive temperature-independent rdar (red, dry, and rough) morphotype on Congo red agar plates characterized by the extracellular matrix components cellulose and curli fimbriae which requires activation by the major biofilm regulator CsgD and cyclic di-GMP signaling. In contrast, C-terminal His-tagged DncV negatively regulates the rdar biofilm morphotype and cell aggregation via downregulation of csgD mRNA steady-state level. Furthermore, DncV sequentially promotes and inhibits adhesion to the abiotic surface after 24 h and 48 h of growth, respectively. DncV also suppresses swimming and swarming motility posttranscriptional of the class 1 flagellum regulon gene flhD. Purified DncV produced different cDNs, cyclic di-GMP, cyclic di-AMP, an unknown product(s), and the dominant species 3′3′-cGAMP. In vivo, only the 3′3′-cGAMP concentration was elevated upon short-term overexpression of dncV, making this work a first report on cGAMP production in E. coli. Regulation of rdar biofilm formation and motility upon overexpression of untagged DncV in combination with three adjacent cotransferred gene products suggests a novel temperature-dependent cGAMP signaling module in E. coli ECOR31.
    Keywords: Csgd ; Dncv ; Biofilm Formation ; Cgamp ; Cyclic Di-Gmp ; Motility ; Rdar ; Biology;
    ISSN: mBio
    ISSN: 21612129
    E-ISSN: 2150-7511
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