Bacteria are constantly adapting to their environment by sensing extracellular factors that trigger production of intracellular signaling molecules, known as second messengers. Recently, 2′,3′-cyclic nucleotide monophosphates (2′,3′-cNMPs) were identified in Escherichia coli and have emerged as possible novel signaling molecules. 2′,3′-cNMPs are produced through endonucleolytic cleavage of short RNAs by the T2 endoribonuclease, RNase I; however, the physiological roles of RNase I remain unclear. Our transcriptomic analysis suggests that RNase I is involved in modulating numerous cellular processes, including nucleotide metabolism, motility, acid sensitivity, metal homeostasis, and outer membrane morphology. Through a combination of deletion strain and inhibitor studies, we demonstrate that RNase I plays a previously unknown role in E. coli stress resistance by affecting pathways that are part of the defense mechanisms employed by bacteria when introduced to external threats, including antibiotics. Thus, this work provides insight into the emerging roles of RNase I in bacterial signaling and physiology and highlights the potential of RNase I as a target for antibacterial adjuvants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine