Contrasting silencing mechanisms of the same target mRNA by two regulatory RNAs in Escherichia coli.
ABSTRACT: Small RNAs are key components of complex regulatory networks. These molecules can integrate multiple cellular signals to control specific target mRNAs. The recent development of high-throughput methods tremendously helped to characterize the full targetome of sRNAs. Using MS2-affinity purification coupled with RNA sequencing (MAPS) technology, we reveal the targetomes of two sRNAs, CyaR and RprA. Interestingly, both CyaR and RprA interact with the 5'-UTR of hdeD mRNA, which encodes an acid-resistance membrane protein. We demonstrate that CyaR classically binds to the RBS of hdeD, interfering with translational initiation. We identified an A/U-rich motif on hdeD, which is bound by the RNA chaperone Hfq. Our results indicate that binding of this motif by Hfq is required for CyaR-induced degradation of hdeD mRNA. Additional data suggest that two molecules of RprA must bind the 5'-UTR of hdeD to block translation initiation. Surprisingly, while both CyaR and RprA sRNAs bind to the same motif on hdeD mRNA, RprA solely acts at the translational level, leaving the target RNA intact. By interchanging the seed region of CyaR and RprA sRNAs, we also swap their regulatory behavior. These results suggest that slight changes in the seed region could modulate the regulation of target mRNAs.
Project description:RpoS is a key regulator of general stress responses in Escherichia coli. Its expression is post-transcriptionally up-regulated by the small RNAs (sRNAs), ArcZ, DsrA and RprA, through sRNA-rpoS mRNA interactions. Although overexpression of the sRNA, CyaR, was reported to down-regulate rpoS expression, how CyaR regulates rpoS has not been determined. Here, we report that CyaR represses rpoS expression by base-pairing with a region next to the ArcZ binding site in the 5' UTR of rpoS mRNA and that CyaR expression itself is down-regulated by ArcZ through sRNA-sRNA interaction. The short form of ArcZ, but not the full-length form, can base-pair with CyaR. This ArcZ-CyaR interaction triggers degradation of CyaR by RNase E, alleviating the CyaR-mediated rpoS repression. These results suggest that ArcZ not only participates in rpoS translation as an activator, but also acts as a regulator of the reciprocally acting CyaR, maximizing its rpoS-activating effect.
Project description:Bacterial small noncoding RNAs carry out both positive and negative regulation of gene expression by pairing with mRNAs; in Escherichia coli, this regulation often requires the RNA chaperone Hfq. Three small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs), DsrA, RprA, and ArcZ, positively regulate translation of the sigma factor RpoS, each pairing with the 5' leader to open up an inhibitory hairpin. In vitro, rpoS interaction with sRNAs depends upon an (AAN)(4) Hfq-binding site upstream of the pairing region. Here we show that both Hfq and this Hfq binding site are required for RprA or ArcZ to act in vivo and to form a stable complex with rpoS mRNA in vitro; both were partially dispensable for DsrA at 37 degrees C. ArcZ sRNA is processed from 121 nt to a stable 56 nt species that contains the pairing region; only the 56 nt ArcZ makes a strong Hfq-dependent complex with rpoS. For each of these sRNAs, the stability of the sRNA*mRNA complexes, rather than their rate of formation, best predicted in vivo activity. These studies demonstrate that binding of Hfq to the rpoS mRNA is critical for sRNA regulation under normal conditions, but if the stability of the sRNA*mRNA complex is sufficiently high, the requirement for Hfq can be bypassed.
Project description:OxyS and RprA are two small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) that modulate the expression of rpoS, encoding an alternative sigma factor that activates transcription of multiple Escherichia coli stress-response genes. While RprA activates rpoS for translation, OxyS down-regulates the transcript. Crucially, the RNA binding protein Hfq is required for both sRNAs to function, although the specific role played by Hfq remains unclear. We have investigated RprA and OxyS interactions with Hfq using biochemical and biophysical approaches. In particular, we have obtained the molecular envelopes of the Hfq-sRNA complexes using small-angle scattering methods, which reveal key molecular details. These data indicate that Hfq does not substantially change shape upon complex formation, whereas the sRNAs do. We link the impact of Hfq binding, and the sRNA structural changes induced, to transcript stability with respect to RNase E degradation. In light of these findings, we discuss the role of Hfq in the opposing regulatory functions played by RprA and OxyS in rpoS regulation.
Project description:The Escherichia coli genome encodes approximately 30 two-component systems that are required for sensing and responding to a variety of environmental and physiological cues. Recent studies have revealed numerous regulatory connections between two-component systems and small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs), which posttranscriptionally regulate gene expression by base pairing with target mRNAs. In this study, we investigated the role of sRNAs in the CpxAR two-component system, which detects and mediates an adaptive response to potentially lethal protein misfolding in the Gram-negative bacterial envelope. Here, we showed for the first time that sRNAs are members of the Cpx regulon. We found that CpxR binds to the promoter regions and regulates expression of two sRNA genes, cyaR and rprA. We also investigated the roles that these sRNAs play in the Cpx response. Cpx repression of cyaR expression creates a feed-forward loop, in which CpxAR increases expression of the inner membrane protein YqaE both directly at the transcriptional level and indirectly at the translational level. Moreover, we found that RprA exerts negative feedback on the Cpx response, reducing Cpx activity in a manner that is dependent on the response regulator CpxR but independent of all of RprA's previously described targets. sRNAs therefore permit the fine-tuning of Cpx pathway activity and its regulation of target genes, which could assist bacterial survival in the face of envelope stress.
Project description:Small noncoding regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) play a key role in regulating the expression of many genes in Escherichia coli and other bacteria. Many of the sRNAs identified in E. coli bind to mRNAs in an Hfq-dependent manner and stimulate or inhibit translation of the mRNAs. Several sRNAs are regulated by well-studied global regulators. Here, we report characterization of the CyaR (RyeE) sRNA, which was previously identified in a global search for sRNAs in E. coli. We demonstrated that CyaR is positively regulated by the global regulator Crp under conditions in which cyclic AMP levels are high. We showed by using microarray analysis and Northern blotting that several genes are negatively regulated by CyaR, including ompX, encoding a major outer membrane protein; luxS, encoding the autoinducer-2 synthase; nadE, encoding an essential NAD synthetase; and yqaE, encoding a predicted membrane protein with an unknown function. Using translational lacZ fusions to yqaE, ompX, nadE, and luxS, we demonstrated that the negative regulation of these genes by CyaR occurs at the posttranscriptional level and is direct. Different portions of a highly conserved 3' region of CyaR are predicted to pair with sequences near the ribosome binding site of each of these targets; mutations in this sequence affected regulation, and compensatory mutations in the target mRNA restored regulation, confirming that there is direct regulation by the sRNA. These results provide insight into the mechanisms by which Crp negatively regulates genes such as luxS and ompX and provide a link between catabolite repression, quorum sensing, and nitrogen assimilation in E. coli.
Project description:Many small RNAs (sRNAs) regulate gene expression by base pairing to their target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) with the help of Hfq in Escherichia coli. The sRNA DsrA activates translation of the rpoS mRNA in an Hfq-dependent manner, but this activation ability was found to partially bypass Hfq when DsrA is overproduced. The precise mechanism by which DsrA bypasses Hfq is unknown. In this study, we constructed strains lacking all three rpoS-activating sRNAs (i.e., ArcZ, DsrA, and RprA) in hfq+ and Hfq- backgrounds, and then artificially regulated the cellular DsrA concentration in these strains by controlling its ectopic expression. We then examined how the expression level of rpoS was altered by a change in the concentration of DsrA. We found that the translation and stability of the rpoS mRNA are both enhanced by physiological concentrations of DsrA regardless of Hfq, but that depletion of Hfq causes a rapid degradation of DsrA and thereby decreases rpoS mRNA stability. These results suggest that the observed Hfq dependency of DsrA-mediated rpoS activation mainly results from the destabilization of DsrA in the absence of Hfq, and that DsrA itself contributes to the translational activation and stability of the rpoS mRNA in an Hfq-independent manner.
Project description:Gene regulation by base pairing between small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) and their mRNA targets is an important mechanism that allows bacteria to maintain homeostasis and respond to dynamic environments. In Gram-negative bacteria, sRNA pairing and regulation are mediated by several RNA-binding proteins, including the sRNA chaperone Hfq and polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase). PNPase and its homolog RNase PH together represent the two 3' to 5' phosphorolytic exoribonucleases found in Escherichia coli; however, the role of RNase PH in sRNA regulation has not yet been explored and reported. Here, we have examined in detail how PNPase and RNase PH interact to support sRNA stability, activity, and base pairing in exponential and stationary growth conditions. Our results indicate that these proteins facilitate the stability and regulatory function of the sRNAs RyhB, CyaR, and MicA during exponential growth. PNPase further appears to contribute to pairing between RyhB and its mRNA targets. During stationary growth, each sRNA responded differently to the absence or presence of PNPase and RNase PH. Finally, our results suggest that PNPase and RNase PH stabilize only Hfq-bound sRNAs. Taken together, these results confirm and extend previous findings that PNPase participates in sRNA regulation and reveal that RNase PH serves a similar, albeit more limited, role as well. These proteins may, therefore, act to protect sRNAs from spurious degradation while also facilitating regulatory pairing with their targets.In many bacteria, Hfq-dependent base-pairing sRNAs facilitate rapid changes in gene expression that are critical for maintaining homeostasis and responding to stress and environmental changes. While a role for Hfq in this process was identified more than 2 decades ago, the identity and function of the other proteins required for Hfq-dependent regulation by sRNAs have not been resolved. Here, we demonstrate that PNPase and RNase PH, the two phosphorolytic RNases in E. coli, stabilize sRNAs against premature degradation and, in the case of PNPase, also accelerate regulation by sRNA-mRNA pairings for certain sRNAs. These findings are the first to demonstrate that RNase PH influences and supports sRNA regulation and suggest shared and distinct roles for these phosphorolytic RNases in this process.
Project description:Production of curli, extracellular protein structures important for Escherichia coli biofilm formation, is governed by a highly complex regulatory mechanism that integrates multiple environmental signals through the involvement of numerous proteins and small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs). No less than seven sRNAs (McaS, RprA, GcvB, RydC, RybB, OmrA and OmrB) are known to repress the expression of the curli activator CsgD. Many of the sRNAs repress CsgD production by binding to the csgD mRNA at sites far upstream of the ribosomal binding site. The precise mechanism behind sRNA-mediated regulation of CsgD synthesis is largely unknown. In this study, we identify a conserved A/U-rich region in the csgD mRNA 5' untranslated region, which is cleaved upon binding of the small RNAs, McaS, RprA or GcvB, to sites located more than 30 nucleotides downstream. Mutational analysis shows that the A/U-rich region as well as an adjacent stem-loop structure are required for McaS-stimulated degradation, also serving as a binding platform for the RNA chaperone Hfq. Prevention of McaS-activated cleavage completely relieves repression, suggesting that endoribonucleolytic cleavage of csgD mRNA is the primary regulatory effect exerted by McaS. Moreover, we find that McaS-mediated degradation of the csgD 5' untranslated region requires RNase E.
Project description:Hfq is a global small RNA (sRNA) chaperone that interacts with Hfq-regulated sRNAs and functions in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. In this work, we identified Hfq to be a virulence regulator in the Gram-negative fire blight pathogen Erwinia amylovora. Deletion of hfq in E. amylovora Ea1189 significantly reduced bacterial virulence in both immature pear fruits and apple shoots. Analysis of virulence determinants in strain Ea1189?hfq showed that Hfq exerts pleiotropic regulation of amylovoran exopolysaccharide production, biofilm formation, motility, and the type III secretion system (T3SS). Further characterization of biofilm regulation by Hfq demonstrated that Hfq limits bacterial attachment to solid surfaces while promoting biofilm maturation. Characterization of T3SS regulation by Hfq revealed that Hfq positively regulates the translocation and secretion of the major type III effector DspE and negatively controls the secretion of the putative translocator HrpK and the type III effector Eop1. Lastly, 10 Hfq-regulated sRNAs were identified using a computational method, and two of these sRNAs, RprA and RyhA, were found to be required for the full virulence of E. amylovora.
Project description:By shaping gene expression profiles, small RNAs (sRNAs) enable bacteria to efficiently adapt to changes in their environment. To better understand how Escherichia coli acclimatizes to nutrient availability, we performed UV cross-linking, ligation and sequencing of hybrids (CLASH) to uncover Hfq-associated RNA-RNA interactions at specific growth stages. We demonstrate that Hfq CLASH robustly captures bona fide RNA-RNA interactions. We identified hundreds of novel sRNA base-pairing interactions, including many sRNA-sRNA interactions and involving 3'UTR-derived sRNAs. We rediscovered known and identified novel sRNA seed sequences. The sRNA-mRNA interactions identified by CLASH have strong base-pairing potential and are highly enriched for complementary sequence motifs, even those supported by only a few reads. Yet, steady state levels of most mRNA targets were not significantly affected upon over-expression of the sRNA regulator. Our results reinforce the idea that the reproducibility of the interaction, not base-pairing potential, is a stronger predictor for a regulatory outcome.