Genome-Wide Discovery of Small RNAs in Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Paolo Miotto, Francesca Forti, Alessandro Ambrosi, Danilo Pellin, Diogo F. Veiga, Gabor Balazsi, Maria L. Gennaro, Clelia Di Serio, Daniela Ghisotti, Daniela M. Cirillo

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56 Scopus citations


Only few small RNAs (sRNAs) have been characterized in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and their role in regulatory networks is still poorly understood. Here we 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 we 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. We also used a computational approach utilizing functional enrichment to identify the pathways targeted by sRNA regulation. We 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51950
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 19 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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