RNA regulators responding to ribosomal protein S15 are frequent in sequence space

Betty L. Slinger, Michelle M. Meyer
2016 Nucleic Acids Research  
There are several natural examples of distinct RNA structures that interact with the same ligand to regulate the expression of homologous genes in different organisms. One essential question regarding this phenomenon is whether such RNA regulators are the result of convergent or divergent evolution. Are the RNAs derived from some common ancestor and diverged to the point where we cannot identify the similarity, or have multiple solutions to the same biological problem arisen independently? A
more » ... variable in assessing these alternatives is how frequently such regulators arise within sequence space. Ribosomal protein S15 is autogenously regulated via an RNA regulator in many bacterial species; four apparently distinct regulators have been functionally validated in different bacterial phyla. Here, we explore how frequently such regulators arise within a partially randomized sequence population. We find many RNAs that interact specifically with ribosomal protein S15 from Geobacillus kaustophilus with biologically relevant dissociation constants. Furthermore, of the six sequences we characterize, four show regulatory activity in an Escherichia coli reporter assay. Subsequent footprinting and mutagenesis analysis indicates that protein binding proximal to regulatory features such as the Shine-Dalgarno sequence is sufficient to enable regulation, suggesting that regulation in response to S15 is relatively easily acquired.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkw754 pmid:27580716 pmcid:PMC5100602 fatcat:uul7xybd6zbb5hvszgaeaarpw4