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J Bacteriol. 2010 Jul;192(14):3565-73. doi: 10.1128/JB.00290-10. Epub 2010 May 7.

Regulation of an auxiliary, antibiotic-resistant tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase gene via ribosome-mediated transcriptional attenuation.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Brown University, 324 Brook St., Providence, RI 02912, USA.


cis-Acting RNA elements in the leaders of bacterial mRNA often regulate gene transcription, especially in the context of amino acid metabolism. We determined that the transcription of the auxiliary, antibiotic-resistant tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase gene (trpRS1) in Streptomyces coelicolor is regulated by a ribosome-mediated attenuator in the 5' leader of its mRNA region. This regulatory element controls gene transcription in response to the physiological effects of indolmycin and chuangxinmycin, two antibiotics that inhibit bacterial tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetases. By mining streptomycete genome sequences, we found several orthologs of trpRS1 that share this regulatory element; we predict that they are regulated in a similar fashion. The validity of this prediction was established through the analysis of a trpRS1 ortholog (SAV4725) in Streptomyces avermitilis. We conclude that the trpRS1 locus is a widely distributed and self-regulating antibiotic resistance cassette. This study provides insights into how auxiliary aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase genes are regulated in bacteria.

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