The Csr global regulatory system coordinates gene expression in response to metabolic status. This system utilizes the RNA binding protein CsrA to regulate gene expression by binding to transcripts of structural and regulatory genes, thus affecting their structure, stability, translation, and/or transcription elongation. CsrA activity is controlled by sRNAs, CsrB and CsrC, which sequester CsrA away from other transcripts. CsrB/C levels are partly determined by their rates of turnover, which requires CsrD to render them susceptible to RNase E cleavage. Previous epistasis analysis suggested that CsrD affects gene expression through the other Csr components, CsrB/C and CsrA. However, those conclusions were based on a limited analysis of reporters. Here, we reassessed the global behavior of the Csr circuitry using epistasis analysis with RNA seq (Epi-seq). Because CsrD effects on mRNA levels were entirely lost in the csrA mutant and largely eliminated in a csrB/C mutant under our experimental conditions, while the majority of CsrA effects persisted in the absence of csrD, the original model accounts for the global behavior of the Csr system. Our present results also reflect a more nuanced role of CsrA as terminal regulator of the Csr system than has been recognized.
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