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Mol Microbiol. 2007 Jul;65(2):373-85. Epub 2007 Jun 21.

RNase E-dependent processing stabilizes MicX, a Vibrio cholerae sRNA.

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Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


In Vibrio cholerae, bioinformatic approaches have been used to predict the locations of numerous small RNA (sRNA)-encoding genes, but biological roles have been determined for very few. Here, we describe the expression, processing and biological role of an sRNA (previously known as A10) that was identified through such analyses. We have renamed this sRNA MicX as, like the Escherichia coli sRNAs MicA, MicC and MicF, it regulates expression of an outer membrane protein (OMP). MicX appears to be a direct negative regulator of vc0972, which encodes an uncharacterized OMP, and vc0620, which encodes the periplasmic component of a peptide ABC transporter. Hfq is apparently not required for MicX's interactions with and regulation of these targets. The sequence encoding MicX overlaps with vca0943; however, primary transcripts of MicX are processed in an RNase E- and Hfq-dependent fashion to a shorter, still active and much more stable form consisting largely of the vca0943 3' untranslated region. Our data suggest that processing of MicX enhances its effectiveness, and that sRNA cleavage is not simply a means to sRNA inactivation and clearance.

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