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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of the cold-box region in the 5' untranslated region of the cspA mRNA in its transient expression at low temperature in Escherichia coli.

Upon temperature downshift, a group of proteins called cold shock proteins, such as CspA, CspB, and CsdA, are transiently induced in Escherichia coli. However, when the 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) of cspA mRNA is overproduced at low temperature, the expression of cold shock genes is prolonged or derepressed. It has been proposed that this effect is due to highly conserved 11-base sequences designated the "cold box" existing in the 5' UTRs of cspA, cspB, and csdA. Here, we demonstrate that the overproduction of the 5' UTR of not only cspA but also cspB and csdA mRNAs causes derepression of all three genes at the same time. Conversely, when the cold-box region was deleted from the cspA 5' UTR its derepression function was abolished. The amount of mRNA from the chromosomal cspA gene was much higher in cells overproducing the wild-type 5' UTR by means of a plasmid than it was in cells overproducing the cold-box-deleted 5' UTR. The stability of the chromosomal cspA mRNA in cells overproducing the wild-type 5' UTR was almost identical to that in cells overproducing the cold-box-deleted 5' UTR. Therefore, the derepression of cspA caused by overproduction of 5' UTR at the end of the acclimation phase occurs at the level of transcription but not by mRNA stabilization, indicating that the cold-box region plays a negative role in cspA transcription in cold shock-adapted cells. The role of the cold-box region was further confirmed with a cspA mutant strain containing a cold-box-deleted cspA gene integrated into the chromosome, which showed a high level of constitutive production of CspA but not CspB during exponential growth at low temperature.[1]


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