This molecule is one of about 80 known small RNAs common to many bacteria. It got its name for its role in sugar metabolism (SgrS is an acronym for sugar-related stress). When a bacterium such as Escherichia coli has taken up enough – or too much – glucose from its surroundings, SgrS helps stop the transport of glucose molecules across the cell membrane, said microbiology professor and principal investigator Carin Vanderpool.
In trying to tease out how SgrS performs this task, Vanderpool and technician Caryn Wadler discovered that the molecule performs dual roles, both of which inhibit the transport of glucose into the cell. One region of the RNA molecule binds to a messenger RNA to inhibit the production of new glucose transporters, while another region codes for a protein that seems to retard the activity of existing transporters.
The findings appear online this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The most novel thing about this discovery is that this molecule seems to be truly bi-functional in that the two functions it performs participate in the same stress response,” Vanderpool said.
One other small RNA, a 500-nucleotide molecule that regulates virulence genes in Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, was previously found to encode a protein, Vanderpool said, but the activity of that protein did not participate in the regulation.
The two regions of the molecule were apparently engaged in unrelated tasks.
Some glucose is obviously good, since the bacteria use it to make essential cell molecules and to provide energy. However, excess glucose in bacterial cells interferes with vital functions, Vanderpool said, so the SgrS response is essential to bacterial survival. A deeper understanding of how bacteria defend themselves from metabolic stresses such as excess glucose could lead to important therapeutic innovations, she said.
Vanderpool hopes that more researchers will explore the multifunctional potential of these diminutive molecules.“Don’t overlook them just because they’re short,” she said.
Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences