Alternative Hfq-sRNA interaction modes dictate alternative mRNA recognition.
ABSTRACT: Many bacteria use small RNAs (sRNAs) and the RNA chaperone Hfq to regulate mRNA stability and translation. Hfq, a ring-shaped homohexamer, has multiple faces that can bind both sRNAs and their mRNA targets. We find that Hfq has at least two distinct ways in which it interacts with sRNAs; these different binding properties have strong effects on the stability of the sRNA in vivo and the sequence requirements of regulated mRNAs. Class I sRNAs depend on proximal and rim Hfq sites for stability and turn over rapidly. Class II sRNAs are more stable and depend on the proximal and distal Hfq sites for stabilization. Using deletions and chimeras, we find that while Class I sRNAs regulate mRNA targets with previously defined ARN repeats, Class II sRNAs regulate mRNAs carrying UA-rich rim-binding sites. We discuss how these different binding modes may correlate with different roles in the cell, with Class I sRNAs acting as emergency responders and Class II sRNAs acting as silencers.
Project description:MgrR is an Hfq-dependent sRNA, whose transcription is controlled by the level of Mg<sup>2+</sup> ions in <i>Escherichia coli</i> MgrR belongs to Class II sRNAs because its stability in the cell is affected by mutations in Hfq differently than canonical, Class I sRNAs. Here, we examined the effect of mutations in RNA binding sites of Hfq on the kinetics of the annealing of MgrR to two different target mRNAs, <i>eptB</i> and <i>ygdQ</i>, by global data fitting of the reaction kinetics monitored by gel electrophoresis of intermediates and products. The data showed that the mutation on the rim of the Hfq ring trapped MgrR on Hfq preventing the annealing of MgrR to either mRNA. The mutation in the distal face slowed the ternary complex formation and affected the release of MgrR-mRNA complexes from Hfq, while the mutation in the proximal face weakened the MgrR binding to Hfq and in this way affected the annealing. Moreover, competition assays established that MgrR bound to both faces of Hfq and competed against other sRNAs. Further studies showed that uridine-rich sequences located in less structurally stable regions served as Hfq binding sites in each mRNA. Overall, the data show that the binding of MgrR sRNA to both faces of the Hfq ring enables it to efficiently anneal to target mRNAs. It also confers on MgrR a competitive advantage over other sRNAs, which could contribute to efficient cellular response to changes in magnesium homeostasis.
Project description:The RNA chaperone protein Hfq is required for the function of all small RNAs (sRNAs) that regulate mRNA stability or translation by limited base pairing in Escherichia coli. While there have been numerous in vitro studies to characterize Hfq activity and the importance of specific residues, there has been only limited characterization of Hfq mutants in vivo. Here, we use a set of reporters as well as co-immunoprecipitation to examine 14 Hfq mutants expressed from the E. coli chromosome. The majority of the proximal face residues, as expected, were important for the function of sRNAs. The failure of sRNAs to regulate target mRNAs in these mutants can be explained by reduced sRNA accumulation. Two of the proximal mutants, D9A and F39A, acted differently from the others in that they had mixed effects on different sRNA/mRNA pairs and, in the case of F39A, showed differential sRNA accumulation. Mutations of charged residues at the rim of Hfq interfered with positive regulation and gave mixed effects for negative regulation. Some, but not all, sRNAs accumulated to lower levels in rim mutants, suggesting qualitative differences in how individual sRNAs are affected by Hfq. The distal face mutants were expected to disrupt binding of ARN motifs found in mRNAs. They were more defective for positive regulation than negative regulation at low mRNA expression, but the defects could be suppressed by higher levels of mRNA expression. We discuss the implications of these observations for Hfq binding to RNA and mechanisms of action.
Project description:Small RNAs post-transcriptionally regulate many processes in bacteria. Base-pairing of sRNAs near ribosome-binding sites in mRNAs inhibits translation, often requiring the RNA chaperone Hfq. In the canonical model, Hfq simultaneously binds sRNAs and mRNA targets to accelerate pairing. Here, we show that the Escherichia coli sRNAs OmrA and OmrB inhibit translation of the diguanylate cyclase DgcM (previously: YdaM), a player in biofilm regulation. In OmrA/B repression of dgcM, Hfq is not required as an RNA interaction platform, but rather unfolds an inhibitory RNA structure that impedes OmrA/B binding. This restructuring involves distal face binding of Hfq and is supported by RNA structure mapping. A corresponding mutant protein cannot support inhibition in vitro and in vivo; proximal and rim mutations have negligible effects. Strikingly, OmrA/B-dependent translational inhibition in vitro is restored, in complete absence of Hfq, by a deoxyoligoribonucleotide that base-pairs to the biochemically mapped Hfq site in dgcM mRNA We suggest that Hfq-dependent RNA structure remodeling can promote sRNA access, which represents a mechanism distinct from an interaction platform model.
Project description:A major class of small bacterial RNAs (sRNAs) regulate translation and mRNA stability by pairing with target mRNAs, dependent upon the RNA chaperone Hfq. Hfq, related to the Lsm/Sm families of splicing proteins, binds the sRNAs and stabilizes them in vivo and stimulates pairing with mRNAs in vitro. Although Hfq is abundant, the sRNAs, when induced, are similarly abundant. Therefore, Hfq may be limiting for sRNA function. We find that, when overexpressed, a number of sRNAs competed with endogenous sRNAs for binding to Hfq. This correlated with lower accumulation of the sRNAs (presumably a reflection of the loss of Hfq binding), and lower activity of the sRNAs in regulating gene expression. Hfq was limiting for both positive and negative regulation by the sRNAs. In addition, deletion of the gene for an expressed and particularly effective competitor sRNA improved the regulation of genes by other sRNAs, suggesting that Hfq is limiting during normal growth conditions. These results support the existence of a hierarchy of sRNA competition for Hfq, modulating the function of some sRNAs.
Project description:Hfq facilitates gene regulation by small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs), thereby affecting bacterial attributes such as biofilm formation and virulence. Escherichia coli Hfq recognizes specific U-rich and AAN motifs in sRNAs and target mRNAs, after which an arginine patch on the rim promotes base pairing between their complementary sequences. In the cell, Hfq must discriminate between many similar RNAs. Here, we report that acidic amino acids lining the sRNA binding channel between the inner pore and rim of the Hfq hexamer contribute to the selectivity of Hfq's chaperone activity. RNase footprinting, in vitro binding and stopped-flow fluorescence annealing assays showed that alanine substitution of D9, E18 or E37 strengthened RNA interactions with the rim of Hfq and increased annealing of non-specific or U-tailed RNA oligomers. Although the mutants were less able than wild-type Hfq to anneal sRNAs with wild-type rpoS mRNA, the D9A mutation bypassed recruitment of Hfq to an (AAN)4 motif in rpoS, both in vitro and in vivo. These results suggest that acidic residues normally modulate access of RNAs to the arginine patch. We propose that this selectivity limits indiscriminate target selection by E. coli Hfq and enforces binding modes that favor genuine sRNA and mRNA pairs.
Project description:The Sm-like protein Hfq (host factor Q-beta phage) facilitates regulation by bacterial small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) in response to stress and other environmental signals. Here, we present a low-resolution model of Escherichia coli Hfq bound to the rpoS mRNA, a bacterial stress response gene that is targeted by three different sRNAs. Selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation and primer extension, small-angle X-ray scattering, and Monte Carlo molecular dynamics simulations show that the distal face and lateral rim of Hfq interact with three sites in the rpoS leader, folding the RNA into a compact tertiary structure. These interactions are needed for sRNA regulation of rpoS translation and position the sRNA target adjacent to an sRNA binding region on the proximal face of Hfq. Our results show how Hfq specifically distorts the structure of the rpoS mRNA to enable sRNA base pairing and translational control.
Project description:Major bacterial small RNAs (sRNAs) regulate the translation and stability of target mRNAs through base pairing with the help of the RNA chaperone Hfq. The Hfq-dependent sRNAs consist of three basic elements, mRNA base-pairing region, Hfq-binding site, and rho-independent terminator. Although the base-pairing region and the terminator are well documented in many sRNAs, the Hfq-binding site is less well-defined except that Hfq binds RNA with a preference for AU-rich sequences. Here, we performed mutational and biochemical studies to define the sRNA site required for Hfq action using SgrS as a model sRNA. We found that shortening terminator polyU tail eliminates the ability of SgrS to bind to Hfq and to silence ptsG mRNA. We also demonstrate that the SgrS terminator can be replaced with any foreign rho-independent terminators possessing a polyU tail longer than 8 without losing the ability to silence ptsG mRNA in an Hfq-dependent manner. Moreover, we found that shortening the terminator polyU tail of several other sRNAs also eliminates the ability to bind to Hfq and to regulate target mRNAs. We conclude that the polyU tail of sRNAs is essential for Hfq action in general. The data also indicate that the terminator polyU tail plays a role in Hfq-dependent stabilization of sRNAs.
Project description:The Sm-like protein Hfq is required for gene regulation by small RNAs (sRNAs) in bacteria and facilitates base pairing between sRNAs and their mRNA targets. The proximal and distal faces of the Hfq hexamer specifically bind sRNA and mRNA targets, but they do not explain how Hfq accelerates the formation and exchange of RNA base pairs. Here, we show that conserved arginines on the outer rim of the hexamer that are known to interact with sRNA bodies are required for Hfq's chaperone activity. Mutations in the arginine patch lower the ability of Hfq to act in sRNA regulation of rpoS translation and eliminate annealing of natural sRNAs or unstructured oligonucleotides, without preventing binding to either the proximal or distal face. Stopped-flow FRET and fluorescence anisotropy show that complementary RNAs transiently form a ternary complex with Hfq, but the RNAs are not released as a double helix in the absence of rim arginines. RNAs bound to either face of Hfq quench the fluorescence of a tryptophan adjacent to the arginine patch, demonstrating that the rim can simultaneously engage two RNA strands. We propose that the arginine patch overcomes entropic and electrostatic barriers to helix nucleation and constitutes the active site for Hfq's chaperone function.
Project description:Hfq, a bacterial RNA chaperone, stabilizes small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) and facilitates sRNA base-pairing with target mRNAs. Hfq has a conserved N-terminal domain and a poorly conserved disordered C-terminal domain (CTD). In a transcriptome-wide examination of the effects of a chromosomal CTD deletion (Hfq1-65), the Escherichia coli mutant was most defective for the accumulation of sRNAs that bind the proximal and distal faces of Hfq (Class II sRNAs), but other sRNAs also were affected. There were only modest effects on the levels of mRNAs, suggesting little disruption of sRNA-dependent regulation. However, cells expressing Hfq lacking the CTD deletion in combination with a weak distal face mutation were defective for the function of the Class II sRNA ChiX and repression of mutS, both dependent upon distal face RNA binding. Loss of the region between amino acids 66-72 was critical for this defect. The CTD region beyond amino acid 72 was not necessary for distal face-dependent regulation, but was needed for functions associated with the Hfq rim, seen most clearly in combination with a rim mutant. Our results suggest that the C-terminus collaborates in various ways with different binding faces of Hfq, leading to distinct outcomes for individual sRNAs. Overall design: Wild Type (WT) and Hfq65 (CTD deleted mutant) E.coli total RNA and RNA immunoprecipitated with Hfq were collected and sequenced with Illumina. The experiments were duplicated.
Project description:To regulate stress responses and virulence, bacteria use small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs). These RNAs can up or down regulate target mRNAs through base pairing by influencing ribosomal access and RNA decay. A large class of these sRNAs, called trans-encoded sRNAs, requires the RNA binding protein Hfq to facilitate base pairing between the regulatory RNA and its target mRNA. The resulting network of regulation is best characterized in Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium, but the importance of Hfq dependent sRNA regulation is recognized in a diverse population of bacteria. In this review we present the approaches and methods used to discover Hfq binding RNAs, characterize their interactions and elucidate their functions.