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Expression, maturation and turnover of DrrS, an unusually stable, DosR regulated small RNA in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Moores, A; Riesco, AB; Schwenk, S; Arnvig, KB; (2017) Expression, maturation and turnover of DrrS, an unusually stable, DosR regulated small RNA in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. PLoS One , 12 (3) , Article e0174079. 10.1371/journal.pone.0174079. Green open access

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Abstract

Mycobacterium tuberculosis depends on the ability to adjust to stresses encountered in a range of host environments, adjustments that require significant changes in gene expression. Small RNAs (sRNAs) play an important role as post-transcriptional regulators of prokaryotic gene expression, where they are associated with stress responses and, in the case of pathogens, adaptation to the host environment. In spite of this, the understanding of M. tuberculosis RNA biology remains limited. Here we have used a DosR-associated sRNA as an example to investigate multiple aspects of mycobacterial RNA biology that are likely to apply to other M. tuberculosis sRNAs and mRNAs. We have found that accumulation of this particular sRNA is slow but robust as cells enter stationary phase. Using reporter gene assays, we find that the sRNA core promoter is activated by DosR, and we have renamed the sRNA DrrS for DosR Regulated sRNA. Moreover, we show that DrrS is transcribed as a longer precursor, DrrS+, which is rapidly processed to the mature and highly stable DrrS. We characterise, for the first time in mycobacteria, an RNA structural determinant involved in this extraordinary stability and we show how the addition of a few nucleotides can lead to acute destabilisation. Finally, we show how this RNA element can enhance expression of a heterologous gene. Thus, the element, as well as its destabilising derivatives may be employed to post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression in mycobacteria in combination with different promoter variants. Moreover, our findings will facilitate further investigations into the severely understudied topic of mycobacterial RNA biology and into the role that regulatory RNA plays in M. tuberculosis pathogenesis.

Type: Article
Title: Expression, maturation and turnover of DrrS, an unusually stable, DosR regulated small RNA in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0174079
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174079
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2017 Moores et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Structural and Molecular Biology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1546293
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