A better understanding of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in bacteria relies on studying their transcriptome. RNA sequencing methods are used not only to assess RNA abundance but also the exact boundaries of primary and processed transcripts. Here, we developed a method, called identification of specific cleavage position (ISCP), which enables the identification of direct endoribonuclease targets in vivo by comparing the 5΄ and 3΄ ends of processed transcripts between wild type and RNase deficient strains. To demonstrate the ISCP method, we used as a model the double-stranded specific RNase III in the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes. We mapped 92 specific cleavage positions (SCPs) among which, 48 were previously described and 44 are new, with the characteristic 2 nucleotides 3΄ overhang of RNase III. Most SCPs were located in untranslated regions of RNAs. We screened for RNase III targets using transcriptomic differential expression analysis (DEA) and compared those with the RNase III targets identified using the ISCP method. Our study shows that in S. pyogenes, under standard growth conditions, RNase III has a limited impact both on antisense transcripts and on global gene expression with the expression of most of the affected genes being downregulated in an RNase III deletion mutant.
© The Author(s) 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.