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Mol Microbiol. 2010 Dec;78(6):1327-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07428.x. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Small RNAs promote mRNA stability to activate the synthesis of virulence factors.

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  • 1Institute for Molecular Infection Biology, University of Würzburg, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.


Although most bacterial small RNAs act to repress target mRNAs, some also activate messengers. The predominant mode of activation has been seen in 'anti-antisense' regulation whereby a small RNA prevents the formation of an inhibitory 5' mRNA structure that otherwise impairs translational initiation and protein synthesis. The translational activation might also stabilize the target yet this was considered a secondary effect in the examples known thus far. Two recent papers in Molecular Microbiology investigate post-transcriptional activation of collagenase mRNA by Clostridium VR-RNA, and streptokinase mRNA by Streptococcus FasX RNA, to suggest that small RNAs exert positive regulation of virulence genes primarily at the level of mRNA stabilization.

© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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