RNA sequence requirements for NasR-mediated, nitrate-responsive transcription antitermination of the Klebsiella oxytoca M5al nasF operon leader
ABSTRACT In Klebsiella oxytoca, enzymes required for nitrate assimilation are encoded by thenasFEDCBA operon. Nitrate and nitrite induction of nasF operon expression is determined by a transcriptional antitermination mechanism, in which the nasR gene product responds to nitrate or nitrite and overcomes transcription termination at the factor-independent terminator site located in the nasF upstream leader region. Previous studies led to the hypothesis that the NasR protein mediates transcription antitermination through interaction with nasF leader RNA. Here, we report a DNA sequence comparison that reveals conserved 1:2 and 3:4 RNA secondary structures in the nasF leader RNAs from two Klebsiella species. Additionally, we found that specific binding of the NasR protein to nasF leader RNA was stimulated by nitrate and nitrite. We combined mutational analysis, in vivo and in vitro antitermination assays, and an RNA electrophoretic mobility shift assay to define regions in the nasF leader that are essential for antitermination and for NasR-RNA interaction. Formation of the 1:2 stem structure and the specific sequence of the 1:2 hexanucleotide loop were required for both nitrate induction and for NasR-RNA interaction. Mutations in the 1:2 stem-loop region that abolished nitrate induction also interfered with NasR-leader RNA interaction. Finally, nucleotide alterations or additions in the linker region between the 1:2 and 3:4 stem-loops were deleterious to nasF operon induction but not to NasR-leader RNA interaction. We hypothesize that NasR protein recognizes the 1:2 stem-loop structure in the nasF leader RNA to mediate transcription antitermination in response to nitrate or nitrite.
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ABSTRACT: Ralstonia solanacearum, an economically important plant pathogen, must attach, grow, and produce virulence factors to colonize plant xylem vessels and cause disease. Little is known about the bacterial metabolism that drives these processes. Nitrate is present in both tomato xylem fluid and agricultural soils, and the bacterium's gene expression profile suggests that it assimilates nitrate during pathogenesis. A nasA mutant, which lacks the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of R. solanacearum's sole assimilatory nitrate reductase, did not grow on nitrate as a sole nitrogen source. This nasA mutant exhibited reduced virulence and delayed stem colonization following soil-soak inoculation of tomato plants. The nasA virulence defect was more severe following a period of soil survival between hosts. Unexpectedly, once bacteria reached xylem tissue, nitrate assimilation was dispensable for growth, virulence, and competitive fitness. However, nasA-dependent nitrate assimilation was required for normal production of extracellular polysaccharide (EPS), a major virulence factor. Quantitative analyses revealed that EPS production was significantly influenced by nitrate assimilation when nitrate was not required for growth. The plant colonization delay of the nasA mutant was externally complemented by co-inoculation with wild-type bacteria, but not by co-inoculation with an EPS-deficient epsB mutant. The nasA mutant and epsB mutant did not attach to tomato roots as well as wild-type strain UW551. However, adding either wild-type cells or cell-free EPS improved root attachment of these mutants. These data collectively suggest that nitrate assimilation promotes R. solanacearum virulence by enhancing root attachment, the initial stage of infection, possibly by modulating EPS production.Journal of bacteriology 12/2013; 196(5). DOI:10.1128/JB.01378-13 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Post-transcriptional regulation is a very important mechanism to control gene expression in changing environments. In the past decade, a lot of interest has been directed toward the role of small RNAs (sRNAs) in bacterial post-transcriptional regulation. However, sRNAs are not the only molecules controlling gene expression at this level, RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) play an important role as well. CsrA and Hfq are the two best studied bacterial proteins of this type, but recently, additional proteins involved in post-transcriptional control have been identified. This review focuses on the general working mechanisms of post-transcriptionally active RBPs, which include (i) adaptation of the susceptibility of mRNAs and sRNAs to RNases, (ii) modulating the accessibility of the ribosome binding site of mRNAs, (iii) recruiting and assisting in the interaction of mRNAs with other molecules and (iv) regulating transcription terminator/antiterminator formation, and gives an overview of both the well-studied and the newly identified proteins that are involved in post-transcriptional regulatory processes. Additionally, the post-transcriptional mechanisms by which the expression or the activity of these proteins is regulated, are described. For many of the newly identified proteins, however, mechanistic questions remain. Most likely, more post-transcriptionally active proteins will be identified in the future.Frontiers in Microbiology 03/2015; 6:141. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2015.00141 · 3.94 Impact Factor