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      The small RNA chaperone Hfq and multiple small RNAs control quorum sensing in Vibrio harveyi and Vibrio cholerae.

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          Abstract

          Quorum-sensing bacteria communicate with extracellular signal molecules called autoinducers. This process allows community-wide synchronization of gene expression. A screen for additional components of the Vibrio harveyi and Vibrio cholerae quorum-sensing circuits revealed the protein Hfq. Hfq mediates interactions between small, regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) and specific messenger RNA (mRNA) targets. These interactions typically alter the stability of the target transcripts. We show that Hfq mediates the destabilization of the mRNA encoding the quorum-sensing master regulators LuxR (V. harveyi) and HapR (V. cholerae), implicating an sRNA in the circuit. Using a bioinformatics approach to identify putative sRNAs, we identified four candidate sRNAs in V. cholerae. The simultaneous deletion of all four sRNAs is required to stabilize hapR mRNA. We propose that Hfq, together with these sRNAs, creates an ultrasensitive regulatory switch that controls the critical transition into the high cell density, quorum-sensing mode.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Cell
          Cell
          Elsevier BV
          0092-8674
          0092-8674
          Jul 09 2004
          : 118
          : 1
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
          Article
          S0092867404005732
          10.1016/j.cell.2004.06.009
          15242645
          42187a84-b339-4cfd-9453-766cba058b8d
          History

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