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PLoS One. 2010 Apr 8;5(4):e9930. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009930.

Characterization of a heme-regulated non-coding RNA encoded by the prrF locus of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, United States of America.


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an opportunistic pathogen, requires iron for virulence and can obtain this nutrient via the acquisition of heme, an abundant source of iron in the human body. A surplus of either iron or heme can lead to oxidative stress; thus, the Fur (ferric uptake regulator) protein blocks expression of genes required for iron and heme uptake in iron-replete environments. Fur also represses expression of two nearly identical genes encoding the 116- and 114-nucleotide (nt) long PrrF1 and PrrF2 RNAs, respectively. While other Pseudomonads encode for the two PrrF RNAs at separate genomic loci, PrrF1 and PrrF2 are encoded in tandem in all sequenced strains of P. aeruginosa. In this report we characterize a third longer transcript encoded by the prrF locus, PrrH, which is repressed by heme as well as iron. We mapped the PrrH RNA in PA01 using 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and northern analysis, demonstrating the PrrH RNA is 325 nt in length. Accordingly, transcription of PrrH initiates at the 5' end of prrF1, proceeds through the prrF1 terminator and prrF1-prrF2 intergenic sequence (95 nt), and terminates at the 3' end of the prrF2 gene. We also present evidence that repression of PrrH by heme causes increased expression of previously identified PrrF-regulated genes, as well as newly identified iron- and heme-activated genes. Thus, the PrrH RNA appears to impart a novel heme regulatory mechanism to P. aeruginosa.

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