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Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Sep;38(17):5851-66. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq292. Epub 2010 May 7.

Recognition and discrimination of target mRNAs by Sib RNAs, a cis-encoded sRNA family.

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Department of Chemistry, KAIST, Daejeon 305-701 and Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), Daejeon 305-806, Korea.


Five Sib antitoxin RNAs, members of a family of cis-encoded small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in Escherichia coli, repress their target mRNAs, which encode Ibs toxins. This target repression occurs only between cognate sRNA-mRNA pairs with an exception of ibsA. We performed co-transformation assays to assess the ability of SibC derivatives to repress ibsC expression, thereby revealing the regions of SibC that are essential for ibsC mRNA recognition. SibC has two target recognition domains, TRD1 and TRD2, which function independently. The target site for TRD1 is located within the ORF of ibsC, whereas the target site for TRD2 is located in the translational initiation region. The TRD1 sequence is sufficient to repress ibsC expression. In contrast, TRD2 requires a specific structure in addition to the recognition sequence. An in vitro structural probing analysis showed that the initial interactions at these two recognition sites allowed base-pairing to progress into the flanking sequences. Displacement of the TRD1 and TRD2 domains of SibC by the corresponding domains of SibD changed the target specificity of SibC from ibsC to ibsD, suggesting that these two elements modulate the cognate target recognition of each Sib RNA by discriminating among non-cognate ibs mRNAs.

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