Bacterial cyclopropane fatty acid synthase mRNA is targeted by activating and repressing small RNAs

Colleen M. Bianco, Kathrin S.A. Fröhlich, Carin K. Vanderpoola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Altering membrane protein and lipid composition is an important strategy for maintaining membrane integrity during environmental stress. Many bacterial small RNAs (sRNAs) control membrane protein production, but sRNA-mediated regulation of membrane fatty acid composition is less well understood. The sRNA RydC was previously shown to stabilize cfa (cyclopropane fatty acid synthase) mRNA, resulting in higher levels of cyclopropane fatty acids in the cell membrane. Here, we report that additional sRNAs, ArrS and CpxQ, also directly regulate cfa posttranscriptionally. RydC and ArrS act through masking an RNAse E cleavage site in the cfa mRNA 5= untranslated region (UTR), and both sRNAs posttranscriptionally activate cfa. In contrast, CpxQ binds to a different site in the cfa mRNA 5= UTR and represses cfa expression. Alteration of membrane lipid composition is a key mechanism for bacteria to survive low-pH environments, and we show that cfa translation increases in an sRNA-dependent manner when cells are subjected to mild acid stress. This work suggests an important role for sRNAs in the acid stress response through regulation of cfa mRNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00461-19
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Cyclopropane fatty acid synthase
  • Hfq
  • Lipid modification
  • Posttranscriptional regulation
  • RNAse e

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Bacterial cyclopropane fatty acid synthase mRNA is targeted by activating and repressing small RNAs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this