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
Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
22.02.2017 | Life Sciences
22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy