Control of F plasmid gene expression by a small RNA/RNA chaperone system, FinOP

F plasmids contain a large operon, the tra operon, which encodes all the genes necessary for construction of the pilus and conjugative pore. This operon is activated by a plasmid encoded transcription factor, TraJ, which in turn is regulated by a small antisense RNA, FinP. Intriguingly, FinP by itself is not able to bind and repress its sense partner, traJ mRNA, but requires the action of another plasmid encoded protein, FinO. We demonstrated that FinO acts as an RNA chaperone, destabilizing internal stem-loop structures in FinP and traJ mRNA, and facilitating sense-antisense RNA pairing. Our recent functional and structural studies have uncovered related RNA chaperones, ProQ (in E. coli) and NMB1681 (in N. meningitides), indicating that similar proteins may regulate RNA-based processes in a range of bacterial species.

Figure 1.
Chaulk, S. G., Smith Frieday, M. N., Arthur, D. C., Culham, D. E., Edwards, R. A., Soo, P., Frost, L. S., Keates, R. A., Glover, J. N. M. (2011) ProQ Is an RNA Chaperone that Controls ProP Levels in Escherichia coli. Biochemistry. Epub ahead of print
Arthur, D. C., Edwards, R. A., Tsutakawa, S., Tainer, J. A., Frost, L. S., Glover, J. N. M. (2011) Mapping interactions between the RNA chaperone FinO and its RNA targets. Nucl. Acids Res. 2011 Jan 28. [Epub ahead of print]
Chaulk, S., Lu, J., Tan, K., Arthur, D. C., Edwards, R. A., Frost, L. S., Joachimiak, A., Glover, J. N. M. (2010) N. meningitidis 1681 is a member of the FinO family of RNA chaperones. RNA Biology 7(6):112-119.
Arthur, D. C., Ghetu, A. F., Gubbins, M. J., Edwards, R. A., Frost, L. S. and Glover, J. N. M. (2003) FinO is an RNA chaperone that facilitates sense-antisense RNA interactions. The EMBO Journal 22(23):6346-6355. PDF
Gubbins, M. J., Arthur, D. C., Ghetu, A. F., Glover, J. N. M. and Frost, L. S. (2003) Characterizing the structural features of RNA/RNA interactions of the F-plasmid FinOP fertility inhibition system. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 278(30):27663-27671.
Ghetu, A. F., Arthur, D. C., Kerppola, T. K. and Glover, J. N. M. (2002) Probing Fino-FinP RNA interactions by site-directed protein-RNA crosslinking and gelFRET. RNA. 8:816-823. PDF
Ghetu, A. F., Gubbins, M. J., Frost, L. S. and Glover, J. N. M. (2000) Crystal structure of the bacterial conjugation repressor FinO. Nature Structural Biology 7:565-569. PDF
Ghetu, A. F., Gubbins, M. J., Oikawa, K., Kay, C. M., Frost, L. S., and Glover, J. N. M. (1999) The FinO repressor of bacterial conjugation contains two RNA binding regions. Biochemistry 38:14036-14044. PDF