Genome-Wide Discovery of Small RNAs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Scientists at Raffaele Scientific Institute, Italy report a genome-wide characterization of sRNAs in M. tuberculosis integrating experimental and computational analyses. Global RNA-seq analysis of exponentially growing cultures of M. tuberculosis H37Rv had previously identified 1373 sRNA species. In the present report they show that 258 (19%) of these were also identified by microarray expression. This set included 22 intergenic sRNAs, 84 sRNAs mapping within 5’/3′ UTRs, and 152 antisense sRNAs. Analysis of promoter and terminator consensus sequences identified sigma A promoter consensus sequences for 121 sRNAs (47%), terminator consensus motifs for 22 sRNAs (8.5%), and both motifs for 35 sRNAs (14%). Additionally, 20/23 candidates were visualized by Northern blot analysis and 5′ end mapping by primer extension confirmed the RNA-seq data.

Additionally, the researchers used a computational approach utilizing functional enrichment to identify the pathways targeted by sRNA regulation. They found that antisense sRNAs preferentially regulated transcription of membrane-bound proteins. Genes putatively regulated by novel cis-encoded sRNAs were enriched for two-component systems and for functional pathways involved in hydrogen transport on the membrane.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

  • Miotto P, Forti F, Ambrosi A, Pellin D, Veiga DF, Balazsi G, Gennaro ML, Di Serio C, Ghisotti D, Cirillo DM. (2012) Genome-Wide Discovery of Small RNAs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. PLoS One 7(12), e51950. [article]