“The Importance of Regulation: The Impact of RNA-Regulators on Bacterial Fitness”
Thursday, November 01, 2018 at 1:00pm to 2:00pm
Building 48, Room 316
15 VASSAR ST, Cambridge, MA 02139
Michelle Meyer, Boston College
"In many bacterial species, gene regulation can be accomplished through interactions between cellular ligands (including proteins, tRNAs, and small molecules) directly with RNA structures in the 5-UTR or coding regions of mRNAs. The RNA structures responsible for this regulation are quite diverse and homologous genes are often regulated by distinct RNA regulators that recognize the same ligand in different species. We are fascinated by this diversity and its implications for the sequence requirements and selective pressures on RNA-based regulation in bacteria. To address the role played by RNA-regulation in organismal fitness and to better understand the in vivo sequence-function requirements on specific RNA regulators, we have made mutations to several RNA regulators in their native loci and assessed how these changes impact fitness. We find that RNA regulators such as the glycine riboswitch are important for complex behaviors such as motility and biofilms in Bacillus subtilis, and that several RNA regulators in Streptococcus pneumoniae are critical for colonization or infection in the context of a mouse infection model. These findings imply that while RNA regulators display significant diversity across bacterial species implying relatively recent evolutionary origins, they play key roles for bacterial adaptation to changing conditions."