SsrA RNA of Escherichia coli, also known as 10Sa RNA or tmRNA, acts both as tRNA and mRNA when ribosomes are paused at the 3' end of an mRNA lacking a stop codon. This process, referred to as trans-translation, leads to the addition of a short peptide tag to the C-terminus of the incomplete nascent polypeptide. The tagged polypeptide is then degraded by C-terminal-specific proteases. Here, we focused on endogenous targets for the SsrA system and on a potential regulatory role of SsrA RNA. First, we show that trans-translation events occur frequently in normally growing E. coli cells. More specifically, we report that the lacI mRNA encoding Lac repressor (LacI) is a specific natural target for trans-translation. The binding of LacI to the lac operators results in truncated lacI mRNAs that are, in turn, recognized by the SsrA system. The SsrA-mediated tagging and proteolysis of LacI appears to play a role in cellular adaptation to lactose availability by supporting a rapid induction of lac operon expression.
- Lac repressor
- Transcriptional roadblock
- lac operon
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)