Research Topic

Small non-coding RNAs in Streptococci

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Gene regulation is a fundamental key for bacteria to responds to environmental changes. In order to adapt to these changes bacteria have evolved and developed different strategies to facilitate tight control of genetic networks in response to diverse extracellular stimuli. The global roles of small noncoding ...

Gene regulation is a fundamental key for bacteria to responds to environmental changes. In order to adapt to these changes bacteria have evolved and developed different strategies to facilitate tight control of genetic networks in response to diverse extracellular stimuli. The global roles of small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) started to be interesting in the last years, particularly in regards to bacterial physiology, adaptation and pathogenesis. Beside translational gene regulation (activation or inhibition) through direct interaction with mRNAs, such sRNAs rely on a variety of mechanisms to control their targets, including: (i) sequestering molecules (e.g proteins) or (ii) riboswitches (sensor elements within mRNAs); and (iii) targeting invading cognate DNA, such is the case for CRISPR RNAs (i.e. Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats RNAs).

In the case of Streptococci, information regarding sRNAs is so far restricted to tow streptococcal species: Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae. As the genus of Streptococcus constitutes a large group of commensal and pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria, it is highly needed to enlarge the study of sRNAs regarding other streptococcal species. Furthermore, streptococcal species lack secondary-stress response sigma factors, stressing the importance of sRNAs as an alternative types of regulators for adaptive gene regulation. With regard to the current knowledge of sRNA functions and modes of action considering Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria alike, sRNAs in Streptococci are expected to play central roles in the regulatory networks of physiology, adaptation and virulence.

Presently, the main challenges in the study of sRNAs in Streptococci are their identification, as well as the identification of their potential targets. However, several works have been published and a large number of putative regulatory sRNAs were recently identified in streptococcal species, nevertheless the biological functions of only a few sRNAs have been investigated.

The proposed research topic will highlight the expanding world of sRNAs, their identification, characterization, roles, mechanism and mode of action in Streptococci. It is intended that this will cover all sRNAs categories cited elsewhere regarding the well-studied Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae, as well as other streptococcal species, for instance, Streptococcus agalactiae an opportunistic pathogen involved in neonatal infection. Researchers with original papers, review articles as well as communications are highly encouraged to participate in this research topic.

The Research Topic will cover
(i) Introduction to the world of sRNAs in Streptococci.
(ii) Original works presenting groundbreaking methods or protocols for the identification and characterization of sRNAs, as well as their potential targets.
(iii) Studies presenting Streptococci sRNAome and their role in physiology, adaptation, and virulence.
(iv) A dedicated part covering the involvement of sRNAs in Streptococci regulation networks, with a focus on their function and mode of action.


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