The structural and functional repertoire of small non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) is central for establishing gene regulation networks in cells and organisms. Here, we show that an mRNA-derived 18-nucleotide-long ncRNA is capable of downregulating translation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by targeting the ribosome. This 18-mer ncRNA binds to polysomes upon salt stress and is crucial for efficient growth under hyperosmotic conditions. Although the 18-mer RNA originates from the TRM10 locus, which encodes a tRNA methyltransferase, genetic analyses revealed the 18-mer RNA nucleotide sequence, rather than the mRNA-encoded enzyme, as the translation regulator. Our data reveal the ribosome as a target for a small regulatory ncRNA and demonstrate the existence of a yet unkown mechanism of translation regulation. Ribosome-targeted small ncRNAs are found in all domains of life and represent a prevalent but so far largely unexplored class of regulatory molecules.
Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.