Bossi, L., Schwartz, A., Guillemardet, B., Boudvillain, M. and Figueroa-Bossi, N.
Genes & Development 26 (16) 1864-1873
par Frapart - publié le , mis à jour le
Gene regulation by bacterial trans-encoded small RNAs (sRNAs) is generally regarded as a post-transcriptional process bearing exclusively on the translation and/or the stability of target messenger RNA (mRNA). The work presented here revealed the existence of a transcriptional component in the regulation of a bicistronic operon-the chiPQ locus-by the ChiX sRNA in Salmonella. By studying the mechanism by which ChiX, upon pairing near the 5’ end of the transcript, represses the distal gene in the operon, we discovered that the action of the sRNA induces Rho-dependent transcription termination within the chiP cistron. Apparently, by inhibiting chiP mRNA translation cotranscriptionally, ChiX uncouples translation from transcription, causing the nascent mRNA to become susceptible to Rho action. A Rho utilization (rut) site was identified in vivo through mutational analysis, and the termination pattern was characterized in vitro with a purified system. Remarkably, Rho activity at this site was found to be completely dependent on the function of the NusG protein both in vivo and in vitro. The recognition that trans-encoded sRNA act cotranscriptionally unveils a hitherto neglected aspect of sRNA function in bacteria.