Sinorhizobium meliloti YbeY is an endoribonuclease with unprecedented catalytic features, acting as silencing enzyme in riboregulation

Margarida Saramago, Alexandra Peregrina, Marta Robledo, Rute G. Matos, Rolf Hilker, Javier Serrania, Anke Becker, Cecilia M. Arraiano, José I. Jiménez-Zurdo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Structural and biochemical features suggest that the almost ubiquitous bacterial YbeY protein may serve catalytic and/or Hfq-like protective functions central to small RNA (sRNA)-mediated regulation and RNA metabolism. We have biochemically and genetically characterized the YbeY ortholog of the legume symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti (SmYbeY). Co-immunoprecipitation (CoIP) with a FLAG-tagged SmYbeY yielded a poor enrichment in RNA species, compared to Hfq CoIP-RNA uncovered previously by a similar experimental setup. Purified SmYbeY behaved as a monomer that indistinctly cleaved singleand double-stranded RNA substrates, a unique ability among bacterial endoribonucleases. SmYbeY-mediated catalysis was supported by the divalent metal ions Mg2+, Mn2+ and Ca2+, which influenced in a different manner cleavage efficiency and reactivity patterns, with Ca2+ specifically blocking activity on double-stranded and some structured RNA molecules. SmYbeY loss-of-function compromised expression of core energy and RNA metabolism genes, whilst promoting accumulation of motility, late symbiotic and transport mRNAs. Some of the latter transcripts are known Hfq-binding sRNA targets and might be SmYbeY substrates. Genetic reporter and in vitro assays confirmed that SmYbeY is required for sRNA-mediated down-regulation of the amino acid ABC transporter prbA mRNA. We have thus discovered a bacterial endoribonuclease with unprecedented catalytic features, acting also as gene silencing enzyme.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1371-1391
Number of pages21
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


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