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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03080

AU-rich long 3’untranslated region regulates gene expression in bacteria

  • 1Institute of Pathogen Biology (CAMS), China
  • 2MOH Key Laboratory of Systems Biology of Pathogens, Institute of Pathogen Biology, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, China
  • 3Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI), China

3’ untranslated regions (3’ UTRs) and particularly long 3’ UTRs have been shown to act as a new class of post-transcriptional regulatory element. We previously reported that hmsT mRNA stability is negatively regulated by the 3’ UTR of hmsT in Yersinia pestis. To investigate more general effects of 3’ UTRs in Y. pestis, we selected 15 genes potentially possessing long 3’ UTRs with different AU content and constructed their 3’ UTR deletion mutants. Deletion of AU-rich 3’ UTRs increased mRNA levels, whereas deletion of 3’ UTRs with normal AU content resulted in slight or no changes in the mRNA level. In addition, we found that PNPase was important for 3’ UTR-mediated mRNA decay when the transcriptional terminator was Rho-dependent. Finally, we showed that ribosomes promote mRNA stability when bound to a 3’ UTR. Our findings suggest that functional 3’ UTRs might be broadly distributed in bacteria and their novel regulatory mechanisms require further investigation.

Keywords: 3’ UTR, AU-rich region, post-transcriptional regulation, mRNA stability, Yersinia pestis

Received: 13 Sep 2018; Accepted: 29 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Xihui Shen, Northwest A&F University, China

Reviewed by:

Yangbo HU, Wuhan Institute Of Virology (CAS), China
Jinshui Lin, Yan'an University, China  

Copyright: © 2018 Sun, Zhao, Zhu and Guo. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Yi-Cheng Sun, Institute of Pathogen Biology (CAMS), Beijing, China,