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Giuliodori, AM, Di Pietro, F, Marzi, S, Masquida, B, Wagner, R, Romby, P, Gualerzi, CO and Pon, CL (2010) The cspA mRNA is a thermosensor that modulates translation of the cold-shock protein CspA. Mol. Cell 37:21-33


Cold induction of cspA, the paradigm Escherichia coli cold-shock gene, is mainly subject to posttranscriptional control, partly promoted by cis-acting elements of its transcript, whose secondary structure at 37 degrees C and at cold-shock temperature has been elucidated here by enzymatic and chemical probing. The structures, which were also validated by mutagenesis, demonstrate that cspA mRNA undergoes a temperature-dependent structural rearrangement, likely resulting from stabilization in the cold of an otherwise thermodynamically unstable folding intermediate. At low temperature, the "cold-shock" structure is more efficiently translated and somewhat less susceptible to degradation than the 37 degrees C structure. Overall, our data shed light on a molecular mechanism at the basis of the cold-shock response, indicating that cspA mRNA is able to sense temperature downshifts, adopting functionally distinct structures at different temperatures, even without the aid of trans-acting factors. Unlike with other previously studied RNA thermometers, these structural rearrangements do not result from melting of hairpin structures.


PubMed Online version:10.1016/j.molcel.2009.11.033


5' Untranslated Regions; Acclimatization; Cold Temperature; Escherichia coli/genetics; Escherichia coli/metabolism; Escherichia coli Proteins/genetics; Escherichia coli Proteins/physiology; Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial; Heat-Shock Proteins/genetics; Heat-Shock Proteins/physiology; Models, Genetic; Nucleic Acid Conformation; Protein Biosynthesis; RNA, Messenger/chemistry; RNA, Messenger/physiology


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