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Bacterial Cyclopropane Fatty Acid Synthase mRNA is targeted by activating and repressing small RNAs

Bianco, C.M., Fröhlich, K.S., and Vanderpool, C.K. 

J. Bacteriol. 2019 Jul 

doi: 10.1128/JB.00461-19

Altering membrane protein and lipid composition is an important strategy for maintaining membrane integrity during environmental stress. Many bacterial small RNAs (sRNAs) control membrane protein production, but sRNA-mediated regulation of membrane fatty acid composition is less well understood. The sRNA RydC was previously shown to stabilize cfa (cyclopropane fatty acid synthase) mRNA, resulting in higher levels of cyclopropane fatty acids in the cell membrane. Here, we report that additional sRNAs, ArrS and CpxQ, also directly regulate cfa post-transcriptionally. RydC and ArrS act through masking an RNase E cleavage site in the cfa mRNA 5' untranslated region (UTR), and both sRNAs post-transcriptionally activate cfa In contrast, CpxQ binds to a different site in the cfa mRNA 5' UTR and represses cfa expression. Alteration of membrane lipid composition is a key mechanism for bacteria to survive low pH environments, and we show that cfa translation increases in an sRNA-dependent manner when cells are subjected to mild acid stress. This work suggests an important role for sRNAs in the acid stress response through regulation of cfa mRNA.





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Ragunathan P.T. and Vanderpool, C.K. Cryptic prophage-encoded small protein DicB protects Escherichia coli from phage infection by inhibiting inner membrane receptor proteins. doi:

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