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Extragenic suppressors of RNase E ts mutants
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

RNase E is an essential endoribonuclease and plays a central role in regulating mRNA levels and stable RNA activity in the bacterial cell. Previous studies of RNA half-life and processing in strains carrying rne mutations have shown that it is the catalytic half of RNase E that is essential for bacterial growth, but have not identified a specific reason for this essentiality. In this study we have used two ts mutations in the catalytic region of RNase E (rne-6 and rne-9) from Salmonella as tools to select and screen for extragenic suppressors of the temperature-sensitive phenotype. We reasoned that identifying extragenic suppressors might give information on the essential function of RNase E. 15 independent extragenic suppressors were isolated and mapped to three different loci on the Salmonella chromosome: rpsA (encoding ribosomal protein S1); vacB (encoding RNase R); and within and neighbouring the ORFs STM1551/1550, putatively encoding a toxin-antitoxin system similar to RelBE from E. coli. Each suppressor mutation could cross-suppress the ts phenotypes of rne-6 and rne-9 and each suppressor mutation alone was viable in a wild-type background. We discuss a model where at the non-permissive temperature an excess of mRNA (including defective species) may trap ribosomes non-productively, reducing the rate of protein synthesis and growth. Accordingly the rpsA mutation may suppress the ts phenotype by reducing the rate of translation initiation, and by default increasing the probability that residual RNase E activity turns over mRNA. The vacB mutations may expand the substrate range of RNase R allowing it to more efficiently substitute for poorly active RNase E in degrading mRNA. Finally, the mutations in the STM1551 region may increase the amount of RelE-like toxin and thereby increase the rate of mRNA turnover. This model makes predictions which can be experimentally tested.

Keyword [en]
rpsA; vacB; RNase R; RelBE; RNase E; mRNA turnover
National Category
Microbiology
Research subject
Microbiology; Molecular Cellbiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-159662OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-159662DiVA: diva2:446167
Available from: 2011-10-06 Created: 2011-10-05 Last updated: 2011-11-10
In thesis
1. EF-Tu and RNase E: Essential and Functionally Connected Proteins
Open this publication in new window or tab >>EF-Tu and RNase E: Essential and Functionally Connected Proteins
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The rate and accuracy of protein production is the main determinant of bacterial growth. Elongation Factor Tu (EF-Tu) provides the ribosome with aminoacylated tRNAs, and is central for its activity. In Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, EF-Tu is encoded by the genes tufA and tufB. A bacterial cell depending on tufA499-encoded EF-Tu mutant Gln125Arg grows extremely slowly. We found evidence that this is caused by excessive degradation of mRNA, which is suggested to be the result of transcription-translation decoupling because the leading ribosome is ‘starved’ for amino acids and stalls on the nascent mRNA, which is thus exposed to Riboendonuclease RNase E. The slow-growth phenotype can be reversed by mutations in RNase E that reduce the activity of this enzyme.

We found that the EF-Tu mutant has increased levels of ppGpp during exponential growth in rich medium. ppGpp is usually produced during starvation, and we propose that Salmonella, depending on mutant EF-Tu, incorrectly senses the resulting situation with ribosomes ‘starving’ for amino acids as a real starvation condition. Thus, RelA produces ppGpp which redirects gene expression from synthesis of ribosomes and favours synthesis of building blocks such as amino acids. When ppGpp levels are reduced, either by over-expression of SpoT or by inactivation of relA, growth of the mutant is improved. We suggest this is because the cell stays in a fast-growth mode.

RNase E mutants with a conditionally lethal temperature-sensitive (ts) phenotype were used to address the long-debated question of the essential role of RNase E. Suppressor mutations of the ts phenotype were selected and identified, both in RNase E as well as in extragenic loci. The internal mutations restore the wild-type RNase E function to various degrees, but no single defect was identified that alone could account for the ts phenotype. In contrast, identifying three different classes of extragenic suppressors lead us to suggest that the essential role of RNaseIE is to degrade mRNA. One possibility to explain the importance of this function is that in the absence of mRNA degradation by RNase E, the ribosomes become trapped on defective mRNAs, with detrimental consequences for continued cell growth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2011. 49 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 863
Keyword
bacterial growth, translation, EF-Tu, RNase E, mRNA, RNA degradation
National Category
Microbiology
Research subject
Molecular Cellbiology; Microbiology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-159682 (URN)978-91-554-8179-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-11-24, B21, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-11-03 Created: 2011-10-06 Last updated: 2011-11-10Bibliographically approved

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