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Mol Microbiol. 2010 May;76(4):990-1009. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2010.07158.x. Epub 2010 Apr 1.

A dual-function sRNA from B. subtilis: SR1 acts as a peptide encoding mRNA on the gapA operon.

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AG Bakteriengenetik, Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Philosophenweg 12, Jena D-07743, Germany.


Small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) have been found to regulate gene expression in all three kingdoms of life. So far, relatively little is known about sRNAs from Gram-positive bacteria. SR1 is a regulatory sRNA from the Bacillus subtilis chromosome that inhibits by base-pairing translation initiation of ahrC mRNA encoding a transcriptional activator of the arginine catabolic operons. Here we present a novel target of SR1, the glycolytic gapA operon. Both microarray and Northern blot analyses show that the amount of gapA operon mRNA is significantly higher in the presence of SR1 when cells were grown in complex medium until stationary phase. Translational lacZ fusions and toeprinting analyses demonstrate that SR1 does not promote translation of gapA mRNA. By contrast, the half-life of gapA operon mRNA is strongly reduced in the sr1 knockout strain. SR1 does not act as a base-pairing sRNA on gapA operon mRNA. Instead, we demonstrate that the 39 aa peptide encoded by SR1, SR1P, is responsible for the effect of SR1 on the gapA operon. We show that SR1P binds GapA, thereby stabilizing the gapA operon mRNA by a hitherto unknown mechanism. SR1 is the first dual-function sRNA found in B. subtilis.

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