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Genome-Wide Effects of Selenium and Translational Uncoupling on Transcription in the Termite Gut Symbiont Treponema primitia

Author(s): Matson, Eric G; Rosenthal, Adam Z; Zhang, Xinning; Leadbetter, Jared R

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Abstract: When prokaryotic cells acquire mutations, encounter translation-inhibiting substances, or experience adverse environmental conditions that limit their ability to synthesize proteins, transcription can become uncoupled from translation. Such uncoupling is known to suppress transcription of protein-encoding genes in bacteria. Here we show that the trace element selenium controls transcription of the gene for the selenocysteine-utilizing enzyme formate dehydrogenase (fdhFSec) through a translation-coupled mechanism in the termite gut symbiont Treponema primitia, a member of the bacterial phylum Spirochaetes. We also evaluated changes in genome-wide transcriptional patterns caused by selenium limitation and by generally uncoupling translation from transcription via antibiotic-mediated inhibition of protein synthesis. We observed that inhibiting protein synthesis in T. primitia influences transcriptional patterns in unexpected ways. In addition to suppressing transcription of certain genes, the expected consequence of inhibiting protein synthesis, we found numerous examples in which transcription of genes and operons is truncated far downstream from putative promoters, is unchanged, or is even stimulated overall. These results indicate that gene regulation in bacteria allows for specific post-initiation transcriptional responses during periods of limited protein synthesis, which may depend both on translational coupling and on unclassified intrinsic elements of protein-encoding genes.
Publication Date: 12-Nov-2013
Citation: Matson, Eric G., Adam Z. Rosenthal, Xinning Zhang, and Jared R. Leadbetter. "Genome-wide effects of selenium and translational uncoupling on transcription in the termite gut symbiont Treponema primitia." Mbio 4, no. 6 (2013). doi:10.1128/mbio.00869-13.
DOI: doi:10.1128/mbio.00869-13
EISSN: 2150-7511
Language: eng
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: mBio
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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