CsrA protein regulates important cellular processes by binding to target mRNAs and altering their translation and/or stability. In Escherichia coli, CsrA binds to sRNAs, CsrB and CsrC, which sequester CsrA and antagonize its activity. Here, mRNAs for relA, spoT and dksA of the stringent response system were found among 721 different transcripts that copurified with CsrA. Many of the transcripts that copurified with CsrA were previously determined to respond to ppGpp and/or DksA. We examined multiple regulatory interactions between the Csr and stringent response systems. Most importantly, DksA and ppGpp robustly activated csrB/C transcription (10-fold), while they modestly activated csrA expression. We propose that CsrA-mediated regulation is relieved during the stringent response. Gel shift assays confirmed high affinity binding of CsrA to relA mRNA leader and weaker interactions with dksA and spoT. Reporter fusions, qRT-PCR and immunoblotting showed that CsrA repressed relA expression, and (p)ppGpp accumulation during stringent response was enhanced in a csrA mutant. CsrA had modest to negligible effects on dksA and spoT expression. Transcription of dksA was negatively autoregulated via a feedback loop that tended to mask CsrA effects. We propose that the Csr system fine-tunes the stringent response and discuss biological implications of the composite circuitry.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology