The first 20 codons of the prfA-mRNA are required for efficient translation in Listeria monocytogenes
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Expression of virulence factors in the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes is almost exclusively regulated by the transcriptional activator PrfA. The translation of prfA is controlled by a thermosensor located in the 5´-untranslated RNA (UTR), which is high at 37°C and low at temperatures below 30°C. Also, translation of the prfA transcript is inhibited by a trans-acting riboswitch RNA, SreA, which binds to the 5´-end of the thermosensor. In order to develop a thermoregulated translational expression system in Mycobacterial species, the 5´-UTR and different lengths of the prfA-coding sequences were placed in front of lacZ. When expressed in Escherichia coli, the constructs retained their thermoregulation. However, the β-galactosidase expression was directly correlated to the length of the prfA-coding mRNA fused in front of lacZ. A similar regulation was also detected when gfp was used as a reporter gene. Transcriptional stability experiments indicated that the observed difference in expression was not due to a decreased stability of transcripts lacking more of the prfA-coding RNA. The gfp constructs behaved similarly in L. monocytogenes as in E. coli, emphasizing the requirement of the prfA-coding RNA for maximal expression, also in its natural genetic background. Moreover, the different PrfA-LacZ fusion proteins showed the same proteolytic stability, ruling out post-translational mechanisms. Instead, in vitro transcription/translation experiments suggest a role of the first 20 codons of the native prfA-mRNA for maximal expression. Our data indicated that the difference in expression was not due to rare codons, stretches of certain bases or a putative downstream box. We observed an inverse correlation between the stability of the RNA secondary structure and protein expression. The first 12 codons of prfA displayed a very weak RNA secondary structure. Similar weak stabilities were detected also for thermosensors in other species, indicating a common strategy of regulation. In summary, the present work determines the importance of an unstructured 5´-coding region of the prfA-RNA for efficient translation.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research subject Molecular Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-33103OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-33103DiVA: diva2:310097