Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 27651365
MBio 2016 09;7(5)
UNLABELLED: Fe-S clusters are cofactors conserved through all domains of life. Once assembled by dedicated ISC and/or SUF scaffolds, Fe-S clusters are conveyed to their apo-targets via A-type carrier proteins (ATCs). Escherichia coli possesses four such ATCs. ErpA is the only ATC essential under aerobiosis. Recent studies reported a possible regulation of the erpA mRNA by the small RNA (sRNA) RyhB, which controls the expression of many genes under iron starvation. Surprisingly, erpA has not been identified in recent transcriptomic analysis of the iron starvation response, thus bringing into question the actual physiological significance of the putative regulation of erpA by RyhB. Using an sRNA library, we show that among 26 sRNAs, only RyhB represses the expression of an erpA-lacZ translational fusion. We further demonstrate that this repression occurs during iron starvation. Using mutational analysis, we show that RyhB base pairs to the erpA mRNA, inducing its disappearance. In addition, IscR, the master regulator of Fe-S homeostasis, represses expression of erpA at the transcriptional level when iron is abundant, but depleting iron from the medium alleviates this repression. The conjunction of transcriptional derepression by IscR and posttranscriptional repression by RyhB under Fe-limiting conditions is best described as an incoherent regulatory circuit. This double regulation allows full expression of erpA at iron concentrations for which Fe-S biogenesis switches from the ISC to the SUF system. We further provide evidence that this regulatory circuit coordinates ATC usage to iron availability.
IMPORTANCE: Regulatory small RNAs (sRNAs) have emerged as major actors in the control of gene expression in the last few decades. Relatively little is known about how these regulators interact with classical transcription factors to coordinate genetic responses. We show here how an sRNA, RyhB, and a transcription factor, IscR, regulate expression of an essential gene, erpA, in the bacterium E. coli ErpA is involved in the biogenesis of Fe-S clusters, an important class of cofactors involved in a plethora of cellular reactions. Interestingly, we show that RyhB and IscR repress expression of erpA under opposite conditions in regard to iron concentration, forming a regulatory circuit called an “incoherent network.” This incoherent network serves to maximize expression of erpA at iron concentrations where it is most needed. Altogether, our study paves the way for a better understanding of mixed regulatory networks composed of RNAs and transcription factors.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27651365