Toxin MqsR cleaves single‐stranded mRNA with various 5' ends

Research paper by Nityananda Chowdhury, Brian W. Kwan, Louise C. McGibbon, Paul Babitzke, Thomas K. Wood

Indexed on: 10 Mar '16Published on: 01 Jan '16Published in: MicrobiologyOpen


Toxin/antitoxin (TA) systems are the means by which bacterial cells become persistent; that is, those cells that are tolerant to multiple environmental stresses such as antibiotics by becoming metabolically dormant. These persister cells are responsible for recalcitrant infections. Once toxins are activated by the inactivation of antitoxins (e.g., stress‐triggered Lon degradation of the antitoxin), many toxins reduce metabolism by inhibiting translation (e.g., cleaving mRNA, reducing ATP). The MqsR/MqsA TA system of Escherichia coli cleaves mRNA to help the cell withstand oxidative and bile acid stress. Here, we investigated the role of secondary structure and 5′ mRNA processing on MqsR degradation of mRNA and found that MqsR cleaves only single‐stranded RNA at 5′‐GCU sites and that MqsR is equally active against RNA with 5′‐triphosphate, 5′‐monophosphate, and 5′‐hydroxyl groups.