The ribosome as novel target for small regulatory RNAs

Polacek, Norbert (4 June 2013). The ribosome as novel target for small regulatory RNAs (Unpublished). In: Regulating with RNA in Bacteria. Würzburg, Deutschland. 04.-08.06.2013.

Small non-protein-coding RNA (ncRNA) molecules have been recognized recently as major contributors to regulatory networks in controlling gene expression in a highly efficient manner. While the list of validated ncRNAs that regulate crucial cellular processes grows steadily, not a single ncRNA has been identified that directly interacts and regulates the ribosome during protein biosynthesis (with the notable exceptions of 7SL RNA and tmRNA). All of the recently discovered regulatory ncRNAs that act on translation (e.g. microRNAs, siRNAs or antisense RNAs) target the mRNA rather than the ribosome. This is unexpected, given the central position the ribosome plays during gene expression. Furthermore it is strongly assumed that the primordial translation system in the ‘RNA world’ most likely received direct regulatory input from ncRNA-like cofactors. The fundamental question that we would like to ask is: Does the ‘RNA world still communicate’ with the ribosome?
To address this question, we have analyzed the small ncRNA interactomes of ribosomes of prokaryotic (H. volcanii, S. aureus) and unicellular eukaryotic model organisms. Deep-sequencing and subsequent bioinformatic analyses revealed thousands of putative ribosome-associated ncRNAs. For a subset of these ncRNA candidates we have gathered experimental evidence that they are expressed in a stress-dependent manner and indeed directly target the ribosome. In the archaeon H. volcanii a tRNA-derived fragment was identified to target the small ribosomal subunit upon alkaline stress in vitro and in vivo. As a consequence of ribosome binding, this tRNA-fragment reduces protein synthesis by interfering with the peptidyl transferase activity.
Our data reveal the ribosome as a novel target for small regulatory ncRNAs in all domains of life. Ribosome-bound ncRNAs are capable of fine tuning translation and might represent a so far largely unexplored class of regulatory sRNAs.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Speech)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)

UniBE Contributor:

Polacek, Norbert


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 540 Chemistry




Christina Schüpbach

Date Deposited:

04 Aug 2014 12:08

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:36


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