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Mol Microbiol. 2004 Nov;54(4):1076-89.

Involvement of a novel transcriptional activator and small RNA in post-transcriptional regulation of the glucose phosphoenolpyruvate phosphotransferase system.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Biology, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


RyaA is a small non-coding RNA in Escherichia coli that was identified by its ability to bind tightly to the RNA chaperone Hfq. This study reports the role of RyaA in mediating the cellular response to glucose-specific phosphoenolypyruvate phosphotransferase system (PTS)-dependent phosphosugar stress. Aiba and co-workers have shown that a block in the metabolism of glucose 6-phosphate causes transient growth inhibition and post-transcriptional regulation of ptsG, encoding the glucose-specific PTS transporter. We found that RyaA synthesis was induced by a non-metabolizable glucose phosphate analogue and was necessary for relief of the toxicity of glucose phosphate stress. Expression of RyaA was sufficient to cause a rapid loss of ptsG mRNA, probably reflecting degradation of the message mediated by RyaA:ptsG pairing. The ryaA gene was renamed sgrS, for sugar transport-related sRNA. Expression of sgrS is regulated by a novel transcriptional activator, SgrR (formerly YabN), which has a putative DNA-binding domain and a solute-binding domain similar to those found in certain transport proteins. Our results suggest that under conditions of glucose phosphate accumulation, SgrR activates SgrS synthesis, causing degradation of ptsG mRNA. Decreased ptsG mRNA results in decreased production of glucose transport machinery, thus limiting further accumulation of glucose phosphate.

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