A plethora of non-coding RNAs has been discovered using high-resolution transcriptomics tools, indicating that transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation is much more complex than previously appreciated. Small RNAs associated with transcription start sites of annotated coding regions (TSSaRNAs) are pervasive in both eukaryotes and bacteria.
Here, researchers from the University of São Paulo provide evidence for existence of TSSaRNAs in several archaeal transcriptomes including: Halobacterium salinarum, Pyrococcus furiosus, Methanococcus maripaludis, and Sulfolobus solfataricus. They validated TSSaRNAs from the model archaeon Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 by deep sequencing two independent small-RNA enriched (RNA-seq) and a primary-transcript enriched (dRNA-seq) strand-specific libraries. They identified 652 transcripts, of which 179 were shown to be primary transcripts (∼7% of the annotated genome). Distinct growth-associated expression patterns between TSSaRNAs and their cognate genes were observed, indicating a possible role in environmental responses that may result from RNA polymerase with varying pausing rhythms.