Analysis of microRNA-size, small RNAs in Streptococcus mutans by deep sequencing


Correspondence: Heon-Jin Lee, Department of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University, 2-188-1 Samduk-dong, Jung-gu, Daegu 700-412, South Korea. Tel.: +82 53 660 6832; fax: +82 53 425 6025; e-mail:


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important modulators of gene expression in eukaryotic cells. However RNAs of the same size in bacteria have not been specifically discussed previously. Here, we provide a library of miRNA-size RNAs (msRNAs), which were registered by deep sequencing in Streptococcus mutans. Bioinformatic analysis of the whole set revealed more than 900 individual msRNA species. The cellular content of selected msRNAs was verified by quantitative RT-PCR and Northern blotting. The high abundance and discrete size of the subset of registered msRNAs suggest their functional significance, although the precise biological role of the RNA species revealed in S. mutans, which is one of the principle causative agents of dental caries, has to be elucidated.