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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 25 August 2015, Vol.112(34), pp.E4772-81
    Description: Horizontal gene transfer via plasmid conjugation is a major driving force in microbial evolution but constitutes a complex process that requires synchronization with the physiological state of the host bacteria. Although several host transcription factors are known to regulate plasmid-borne transfer genes, RNA-based regulatory circuits for host-plasmid communication remain unknown. We describe a posttranscriptional mechanism whereby the Hfq-dependent small RNA, RprA, inhibits transfer of pSLT, the virulence plasmid of Salmonella enterica. RprA employs two separate seed-pairing domains to activate the mRNAs of both the sigma-factor σ(S) and the RicI protein, a previously uncharacterized membrane protein here shown to inhibit conjugation. Transcription of ricI requires σ(S) and, together, RprA and σ(S) orchestrate a coherent feedforward loop with AND-gate logic to tightly control the activation of RicI synthesis. RicI interacts with the conjugation apparatus protein TraV and limits plasmid transfer under membrane-damaging conditions. To our knowledge, this study reports the first small RNA-controlled feedforward loop relying on posttranscriptional activation of two independent targets and an unexpected role of the conserved RprA small RNA in controlling extrachromosomal DNA transfer.
    Keywords: Hfq ; Rpra ; Feedforward Control ; Plasmid Conjugation ; Srna ; Chromosomes, Bacterial ; DNA, Bacterial -- Genetics ; RNA, Bacterial -- Genetics ; Salmonella -- Genetics
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 27 March 2012, Vol.109(13), pp.E757-64
    Description: SgrS RNA is a model for the large class of Hfq-associated small RNAs that act to posttranscriptionally regulate bacterial mRNAs. The function of SgrS is well-characterized in nonpathogenic Escherichia coli, where it was originally shown to counteract glucose-phosphate stress by acting as a repressor of the ptsG mRNA, which encodes the major glucose transporter. We have discovered additional SgrS targets in Salmonella Typhimurium, a pathogen related to E. coli that recently acquired one-quarter of all genes by horizontal gene transfer. We show that the conserved short seed region of SgrS that recognizes ptsG was recruited to target the Salmonella-specific sopD mRNA of a secreted virulence protein. The SgrS-sopD interaction is exceptionally selective; we find that sopD2 mRNA, whose gene arose from sopD duplication during Salmonella evolution, is deaf to SgrS because of a nonproductive G-U pair in the potential SgrS-sopD2 RNA duplex vs. G-C in SgrS-sopD. In other words, SgrS discriminates the two virulence factor mRNAs at the level of a single hydrogen bond. Our study suggests that bacterial pathogens use their large suites of conserved Hfq-associated regulators to integrate horizontally acquired genes into existing posttranscriptional networks, just as conserved transcription factors are recruited to tame foreign genes at the DNA level. The results graphically illustrate the importance of the seed regions of bacterial small RNAs to select new targets with high fidelity and suggest that target predictions must consider all or none decisions by individual seed nucleotides.
    Keywords: Phylogeny ; Base Pairing -- Genetics ; Gene Transfer, Horizontal -- Genetics ; RNA, Bacterial -- Genetics ; Salmonella -- Genetics
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 20 March 2012, Vol.109(12), pp.4621-6
    Description: The conserved RNA-binding protein Hfq and its associated small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) are increasingly recognized as the players of a large network of posttranscriptional control of gene expression in Gram-negative bacteria. The role of Hfq in this network is to facilitate base pairing between sRNAs and their trans-encoded target mRNAs. Although the number of known sRNA-mRNA interactions has grown steadily, cellular factors that influence Hfq, the mediator of these interactions, have remained unknown. We report that RelA, a protein long known as the central regulator of the bacterial-stringent response, acts on Hfq and thereby affects the physiological activity of RyhB sRNA as a regulator of iron homeostasis. RyhB requires RelA in vivo to arrest growth during iron depletion and to down-regulate a subset of its target mRNAs (fdoG, nuoA, and sodA), whereas the sodB and sdhC targets are barely affected by RelA. In vitro studies with recombinant proteins show that RelA enhances multimerization of Hfq monomers and stimulates Hfq binding of RyhB and other sRNAs. Hfq from polysomes extracted from wild-type cells binds RyhB in vitro, whereas Hfq from polysomes of a relA mutant strain shows no binding. We propose that, by increasing the level of the hexameric form of Hfq, RelA enables binding of RNAs whose affinity for Hfq is low. Our results suggest that, under specific conditions and/or environments, Hfq concentrations are limiting for RNA binding, which thereby provides an opportunity for cellular proteins such as RelA to impact sRNA-mediated responses by modulating the activity of Hfq.
    Keywords: Escherichia Coli -- Metabolism ; Escherichia Coli Proteins -- Physiology ; Host Factor 1 Protein -- Physiology ; Ligases -- Physiology ; RNA, Bacterial -- Metabolism ; RNA-Binding Proteins -- Physiology
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 10 September 2013, Vol.110(37), pp.E3487-96
    Description: Small RNAs (sRNAs) constitute a large and heterogeneous class of bacterial gene expression regulators. Much like eukaryotic microRNAs, these sRNAs typically target multiple mRNAs through short seed pairing, thereby acting as global posttranscriptional regulators. In some bacteria, evidence for hundreds to possibly more than 1,000 different sRNAs has been obtained by transcriptome sequencing. However, the experimental identification of possible targets and, therefore, their confirmation as functional regulators of gene expression has remained laborious. Here, we present a strategy that integrates phylogenetic information to predict sRNA targets at the genomic scale and reconstructs regulatory networks upon functional enrichment and network analysis (CopraRNA, for Comparative Prediction Algorithm for sRNA Targets). Furthermore, CopraRNA precisely predicts the sRNA domains for target recognition and interaction. When applied to several model sRNAs, CopraRNA revealed additional targets and functions for the sRNAs CyaR, FnrS, RybB, RyhB, SgrS, and Spot42. Moreover, the mRNAs gdhA, lrp, marA, nagZ, ptsI, sdhA, and yobF-cspC were suggested as regulatory hubs targeted by up to seven different sRNAs. The verification of many previously undetected targets by CopraRNA, even for extensively investigated sRNAs, demonstrates its advantages and shows that CopraRNA-based analyses can compete with experimental target prediction approaches. A Web interface allows high-confidence target prediction and efficient classification of bacterial sRNAs.
    Keywords: E. Coli ; RNA–RNA Interaction ; Regulatory RNA ; RNA, Bacterial -- Genetics
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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