Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17259222
Nucleic Acids Res. 2007;35(3):962-74
To identify noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) in the pathogenic bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, we analyzed the intergenic regions (IGRs) of strain EGD-e by in silico-based approaches. Among the twelve ncRNAs found, nine are novel and specific to the Listeria genus, and two of these ncRNAs are expressed in a growth-dependent manner. Three of the ncRNAs are transcribed in opposite direction to overlapping open reading frames (ORFs), suggesting that they act as antisense on the corresponding mRNAs. The other ncRNA genes appear as single transcription units. One of them displays five repeats of 29 nucleotides. Five of these new ncRNAs are absent from the non-pathogenic species L. innocua, raising the possibility that they might be involved in virulence. To predict mRNA targets of the ncRNAs, we developed a computational method based on thermodynamic pairing energies and known ncRNA-mRNA hybrids. Three ncRNAs, including one of the putative antisense ncRNAs, were predicted to have more than one mRNA targets. Several of them were shown to bind efficiently to the ncRNAs suggesting that our in silico approach could be used as a general tool to search for mRNA targets of ncRNAs.