Table_1_An sRNA and Cold Shock Protein Homolog-Based Feedforward Loop Post-transcriptionally Controls Cell Cycle Master Regulator CtrA.DOCX
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Adjustment of cell cycle progression is crucial for bacterial survival and adaptation under adverse conditions. However, the understanding of modulation of cell cycle control in response to environmental changes is rather incomplete. In α-proteobacteria, the broadly conserved cell cycle master regulator CtrA underlies multiple levels of control, including coupling of cell cycle and cell differentiation. CtrA levels are known to be tightly controlled through diverse transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. Here, small RNA (sRNA)-mediated post-transcriptional regulation is uncovered as an additional level of CtrA fine-tuning. Computational predictions as well as transcriptome and proteome studies consistently suggested targeting of ctrA and the putative cold shock chaperone cspA5 mRNAs by the trans-encoded sRNA (trans-sRNA) GspR (formerly SmelC775) in several Sinorhizobium species. GspR strongly accumulated in the stationary growth phase, especially in minimal medium (MM) cultures. Lack of the gspR locus confers a fitness disadvantage in competition with the wild type, while its overproduction hampers cell growth, suggesting that this riboregulator interferes with cell cycle progression. An eGFP-based reporter in vivo assay, involving wild-type and mutant sRNA and mRNA pairs, experimentally confirmed GspR-dependent post-transcriptional down-regulation of ctrA and cspA5 expression, which most likely occurs through base-pairing to the respective mRNA. The energetically favored secondary structure of GspR is predicted to comprise three stem-loop domains, with stem-loop 1 and stem-loop 3 targeting ctrA and cspA5 mRNA, respectively. Moreover, this work reports evidence for post-transcriptional control of ctrA by CspA5. Thus, this regulation and GspR-mediated post-transcriptional repression of ctrA and cspA5 expression constitute a coherent feed-forward loop, which may enhance the negative effect of GspR on CtrA levels. This novel regulatory circuit involving the riboregulator GspR, CtrA, and a cold shock chaperone may contribute to fine-tuning of ctrA expression.
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