Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) causes tuberculosis and is able to survive in stressful conditions within hosts by regulating its gene expression. 5' Untranslated Regions (5' UTRs) can contribute to gene regulation. Ribonuclease E (RNase E) is important in mRNA degradation and was shown to autoregulate its synthesis by cleaving its own 5' UTR in E. coli. No studies have shown if it is able to autoregulate in mycobacteria. To understand this, we tested the effects of the rne 5' UTR on expression of a reporter gene in Mycobacterium smegmatis. We found that mRNA and protein levels decreased when the rne 5' UTR was present. Protein levels also decreased when a 5' UTR cleavage site was mutated, suggesting that cleavage may be important for translation efficiency and/or mRNA stability.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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Biology and Biotechnology