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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Oct;38(1):126-39.

A role for the Escherichia coli H-NS-like protein StpA in OmpF porin expression through modulation of micF RNA stability.

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Department of Microbiology, Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Republic of Ireland.


When a wild-type strain of Escherichia coli and its stpA, hns and stpA hns mutant derivatives were compared by two-dimensional protein gel electrophoresis, the levels of expression of several proteins were found to vary. One of these was identified as the outer membrane porin protein, OmpF. In the stpA hns double mutant, the level of OmpF was downregulated dramatically, whereas in hns or stpA single mutants, it was affected only slightly. Transcription from the ompF promoter was reduced by 64% in the double mutant; however, the level of ompF mRNA was reduced by 96%. This post-transcriptional expression was found to result from a strong reduction in the half-life of ompF message in the double mutant. The micF antisense RNA was shown to be involved in OmpF regulation by StpA using a strain deleted for micF. Moreover, micF antisense RNA accumulated considerably in an stpA hns background. Transcriptional data from a micF-lacZ fusion and measurements of micF RNA half-life confirmed that this was caused by transcriptional derepression of micF as a result of the hns lesion and increased micF RNA stability due to the absence of StpA (a known RNA chaperone). These data suggest a novel facet to the regulation of OmpF expression, namely destabilization of micF RNA by StpA.

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