Posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression by small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) is an important control mechanism that modulates bacterial metabolism, motility, and pathogenesis. Using the bacterial carbon storage regulator/regulator of secondary metabolism (Csr/Rsm) system, we here describe an E. coli-based cell-free translation assay that allows a quantitative analysis of translation regulation by ncRNAs and their corresponding translation repressor proteins. The assay quantifies the translation of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase in cell-free expression reactions that contain defined amounts of ncRNA and repressor protein. We demonstrate our protocol with a comparative translation activation analysis of the RsmX, RsmY, and RsmZ sRNAs from Pseudomonas protegens, which reveals a superior efficacy of RsmZ over RsmX and RsmY.
Keywords: Bacterial virulence; Carbon storage regulator; Cell-free expression; Chloramphenicol acetyl transferase; CsrA; Noncoding RNAs; Posttranscriptional regulation; Regulator of secondary metabolism; RsmA; Translation regulation.