Thursday, 17th April 2014

How do bacteria survive these low temperatures?

Posted on 17. Jan, 2010 in Earth Sciences, Life

spaceeeee2The bacteria whether pathogenic or not, must adapt their growth to environmental changes, such as variations in temperature Researchers at CNRS (Lab Architecture reactivity and RNA), of the University of Camerino (Italy) and Dusseldorf ( Germany) have discovered that it is the structure of RNA that adapts to temperature and can thus translate the proteins necessary for the survival of bacteria. These results are published in the journal Molecular Cell, 15 January 2010.

It has already been shown that during a sudden drop in temperature, the process of transcription (producing RNA from DNA) and translation (protein production from mRNA) are strongly affected. However, low temperature, protein family CSpA (cold shock protein) are more numerous. These proteins called “cold adaptation” are from the translation of a dozen genes. These are protein “chaperone” DNA and RNA, they bind to nucleic acids and thus facilitate the most fundamental processes (transcription, translation, degradation of RNA, assembly of ribosomes …). science-php19

Researchers Laboratory Architecture and responsiveness of the NRAs (CNRS), University of Camerino (Italy) and the University of Düsseldorf (Germany) showed that the structure of the messenger RNA (mRNA) that encodes the major protein response to cold, CSPA, was able to “feel” temperature. They noted that the nascent mRNA adopts a structure that is unstable and transient high temperature, but is stabilized at low temperature. This structure favors translation at low temperature, revealing the molecular mechanism by which the protein CSpA is produced in large quantities in response to stress.

This study highlights a novel molecular mechanism where the mRNA structure adapts itself to the temperature. The changing structure of the mRNA without the intervention of proteins can be regarded as a primitive mechanism of regulation The mRNA then carries out a key function in gene regulation, particularly in adaptive processes. The discovery of these new regulatory macromolecules opens the way for new strategies to inhibit bacterial growth.

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