Translation inhibition from a distance: The small RNA SgrS silences a ribosomal protein S1-dependent enhancer

Muhammad S. Azam, Carin K. Vanderpool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many bacterial small RNAs (sRNAs) efficiently inhibit translation of target mRNAs by forming a duplex that sequesters the Shine-Dalgarno (SD) sequence or start codon and prevents formation of the translation initiation complex. There are a growing number of examples of sRNA–mRNA binding interactions distant from the SD region, but how these mediate translational regulation remains unclear. Our previous work in Escherichia coli and Salmonella identified a mechanism of translational repression of manY mRNA by the sRNA SgrS through a binding interaction upstream of the manY SD. Here, we report that SgrS forms a duplex with a uridine-rich translation-enhancing element in the manY 5ʹ untranslated region. Notably, we show that the enhancer is ribosome-dependent and that the small ribosomal subunit protein S1 interacts with the enhancer to promote translation of manY. In collaboration with the chaperone protein Hfq, SgrS interferes with the interaction between the translation enhancer and ribosomal protein S1 to repress translation of manY mRNA. Since bacterial translation is often modulated by enhancer-like elements upstream of the SD, sRNA-mediated enhancer silencing could be a common mode of gene regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-408
Number of pages18
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • Hfq
  • S1
  • sRNA
  • translation enhancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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