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Microbiology. 2009 Jan;155(Pt 1):115-23. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.023432-0.

Role of the Escherichia coli Hfq protein in GcvB regulation of oppA and dppA mRNAs.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


The gcvB gene encodes a small non-translated RNA (referred to as GcvB) that regulates oppA and dppA, two genes that encode periplasmic binding proteins for the oligopeptide and dipeptide transport systems. Hfq, an RNA chaperone protein, binds many small RNAs and is required for the small RNAs to regulate expression of their respective target genes. We showed that repression by GcvB of dppA : : lacZ and oppA : : phoA translational fusions is dependent upon Hfq. Double mutations in gcvB and hfq yielded similar expression levels of dppA : : lacZ and oppA : : phoA compared with gcvB or hfq single mutations, suggesting that GcvB and Hfq repress by the same mechanism. The effect of Hfq is not through regulation of transcription of gcvB. Hfq is known to increase the stability of some small RNAs and to facilitate the interactions between small RNAs and specific mRNAs. In the absence of Hfq, there is a marked decrease in the half-life of GcvB in cells grown in both Luria-Bertani broth and glucose minimal medium with glycine, suggesting that part of the role of Hfq is to stabilize GcvB. Overproduction of GcvB in wild-type Escherichia coli results in superrepression of a dppA : : lacZ fusion, but overproduction of GcvB in an hfq mutant does not result in significant repression of the dppA : : lacZ fusion. These results suggest that Hfq also is likely required for GcvB-mRNA pairing.

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