FlbT, the post-transcriptional regulator of flagellin synthesis in Caulobacter crescentus, interacts with the 5′ untranslated region of flagellin mRNA
Article first published online: 18 JAN 2002
Volume 38, Issue 1, pages 41–52, October 2000
How to Cite
Anderson, P. E. and Gober, J. W. (2000), FlbT, the post-transcriptional regulator of flagellin synthesis in Caulobacter crescentus, interacts with the 5′ untranslated region of flagellin mRNA. Molecular Microbiology, 38: 41–52. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2958.2000.02108.x
- Issue published online: 18 JAN 2002
- Article first published online: 18 JAN 2002
- Accepted 14 July, 2000.
Flagellar gene expression‘ in Caulobacter crescentus is regulated by a complex trans-acting hierarchy, in which the assembly of early structural proteins is required for the expression of later structural proteins. The flagellins that comprise the filament are regulated at both the transcriptional and the post-transcriptional levels. Post-transcriptional regulation is sensitive to the assembly of the flagellar basal body and hook structures. In mutant strains lacking these structures, flagellin genes are transcribed, but not translated. Mutations in the flagellar regulatory gene, flbT, restore flagellin translation in the absence of flagellar assembly. In this report, we investigate the mechanism of FlbT-mediated post-transcriptional regulation. We show that FlbT is associated with the 5′ untranslated region (UTR) of fljK (25 kDa flagellin) mRNA and that this association requires a predicted loop structure in the transcript. Mutations within this loop abolished FlbT association and resulted in increased mRNA stability, indicating that FlbT promotes the degradation of flagellin mRNA by associating with the 5′ UTR. We also assayed the effects on gene expression using mutant transcripts fused to lacZ. Interestingly, the mutant transcript that failed to associate with FlbT in vitro was still repressed in mutants defective in flagellum assembly, suggesting that other factors in addition to FlbT couple assembly to translation.