Complex Intra-Operonic Dynamics Mediated by a Small RNA in Streptomyces coelicolor
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Streptomyces are predominantly soil-dwelling bacteria that are best known for their multicellular life cycle and their prodigious metabolic capabilities. They are also renowned for their regulatory capacity and flexibility, with each species encoding >60 sigma factors, a multitude of transcription factors, and an increasing number of small regulatory RNAs. Here, we describe our characterization of a conserved small RNA (sRNA), scr4677. In the model species Streptomyces coelicolor, this sRNA is located in the intergenic region separating SCO4677 (an anti-sigma factor-encoding gene) and SCO4676 (a putative regulatory protein-encoding gene), close to the SCO4676 translation start site in an antisense orientation. There appears to be considerable genetic interplay between these different gene products, with wild type expression of scr4677 requiring function of the anti-sigma factor SCO4677, and scr4677 in turn influencing the abundance of SCO4676-associated transcripts. The scr4677-mediated effects were independent of RNase III (a double stranded RNA-specific nuclease), with RNase III having an unexpectedly positive influence on the level of SCO4676-associated transcripts. We have shown that both SCO4676 and SCO4677 affect the production of the blue-pigmented antibiotic actinorhodin under specific growth conditions, and that this activity appears to be independent of scr4677.