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Keywords:

  • Hfq protein;
  • oxidative stress;
  • OxyS RNA;
  • RNA-binding protein;
  • rpoS

The OxyS regulatory RNA integrates the adaptive response to hydrogen peroxide with other cellular stress responses and protects against DNA damage. Among the OxyS targets is the rpoS-encoded σs subunit of RNA polymerase. σs is a central regulator of genes induced by osmotic stress, starvation and entry into stationary phase. We examined the mechanism whereby OxyS represses rpoS expression and found that the OxyS RNA inhibits translation of the rpoS message. This repression is dependent on the hfq-encoded RNA-binding protein (also denoted host factor I, HF-I). Co-immunoprecipitation and gel mobility shift experiments revealed that the OxyS RNA binds Hfq, suggesting that OxyS represses rpoS translation by altering Hfq activity.