Base Pairing Interaction between 5 '- and 3 '-UTRs Controls icaR mRNA Translation in Staphylococcus aureus

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Abstract

The presence of regulatory sequences in the 3' untranslated region (3'-UTR) of eukaryotic mRNAs controlling RNA stability and translation efficiency is widely recognized. In contrast, the relevance of 3'-UTRs in bacterial mRNA functionality has been disregarded. Here, we report evidences showing that around one-third of the mapped mRNAs of the major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus carry 3'-UTRs longer than 100-nt and thus, potential regulatory functions. We selected the long 3'-UTR of icaR, which codes for the repressor of the main exopolysaccharidic compound of the S. aureus biofilm matrix, to evaluate the role that 3'-UTRs may play in controlling mRNA expression. We showed that base pairing between the 3'-UTR and the Shine-Dalgarno (SD) region of icaR mRNA interferes with the translation initiation complex and generates a double-stranded substrate for RNase III. Deletion or substitution of the motif (UCCCCUG) within icaR 3'-UTR was sufficient to abolish this interaction and resulted in the accumulation of IcaR repressor and inhibition of biofilm development. Our findings provide a singular example of a new potential post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism to modulate bacterial gene expression through the interaction of a 3'-UTR with the 5'-UTR of the same mRNA.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)Online
JournalPLoS Genetics
Volume9
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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