Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Small RNA plays parallel roles in bacterial metabolism

They are often overlooked, and were once thought to be too small to contribute much to major cellular processes, but in recent years the study of small ribonucleic acids (sRNA) has gained momentum. Now a team from the University of Illinois has identified the unique metabolic activities of one of these bit players, a 200-nucleotide-long RNA molecule in bacteria called SgrS.

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.

... more about:
»Glucose »RNA »SgrS »Vanderpool »bacterial

“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.
To view or subscribe to the RSS feed for Science News at Illinois, please go to:

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:

Further reports about: Glucose RNA SgrS Vanderpool bacterial

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>