Macromolecular Matchmaking: Mechanisms and Biology of Bacterial Small RNAs
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Cells sense the properties of the surrounding environment and convert this information into changes in gene expression. Bacteria are, in contrast to many multi-cellular eukaryotes, remarkable in their ability to cope with rapid environmental changes and to endure harsh and extreme milieus. Previously, control of gene expression was thought to be carried out exclusively by proteins. However, it is now clear that small regulatory RNAs (sRNA) also carry out gene regulatory functions. Bacteria such as E. coli harbor a large class of sRNAs that bind to mRNAs to alter translation and/or mRNA stability.
By identifying mRNAs that are targeted by sRNAs, my studies have broadened the understanding of the mechanisms that underlie sRNA-dependent gene regulation, and have shed light on the impact that this type of regulation has on bacterial physiology. Control of gene expression often relies on the interplay of many regulators. This interplay is exemplified by our discovery of mutual regulation between the sRNA MicF and the globally acting transcription factor Lrp. Through double negative feedback, these two regulators respond to nutrient availability in the environment which results in reprogramming of downstream gene expression. We have also shown that both the transcription factor CsgD, and the anti-sigma factor FlgM, are repressed by the two sRNAs OmrA and OmrB, suggesting that these sRNAs are important players in the complex regulation that allow bacteria to switch between motility and sessility. Bacterial populations of genetically identical individuals show phenotypic variations when switching to the sessile state due to bistability in gene expression. While bistability has previously been demonstrated to arise from stochastic fluctuations in transcription, our results suggest that bistability possibly may arise from sRNA-dependent regulatory events also on the post-transcriptional level.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. , 66 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 916
Small RNA, sRNA, non-coding RNA, antisense, gene regulation, post-transcriptional regulation, translational control, outer membrane protein, OmpA, MicA, biofilm, flagella, curli, bistability, Lrp, MicF, CsgD, FlgM, OmrA, OmrB
Research subject Biology with specialization in Microbiology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-171642ISBN: 978-91-554-8331-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-171642DiVA: diva2:511972
2012-05-16, Sal B42, Biomedicinskt Centrum, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 09:15 (English)
Bläsi, Udo, Professor
Wagner, E. Gerhart H., Professor
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