mRNA-specific translation regulation by a ribosome-associated ncRNA in Haloferax volcanii

Sci Rep. 2018 Aug 21;8(1):12502. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30332-w.


Regulation of gene expression at the translational level allows rapid adaptation of cellular proteomes to quickly changing environmental conditions and is thus central for prokaryotic organisms. Small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) have been reported to effectively orchestrate translation control in bacteria and archaea mainly by targeting mRNAs by partial base complementarity. Here we report an unprecedented mechanism how sRNAs are capable of modulating protein biosynthesis in the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii. By analyzing the ribosome-associated ncRNAs (rancRNAs) under different stress conditions we identified an intergenic sRNA, termed rancRNA_s194, that is primarily expressed during exponential growth under all tested conditions. By interaction with the ribosome rancRNA_s194 inhibits peptide bond formation and protein synthesis in vitro but appears to target a specific mRNA in vivo. The respective knock-out strain shows a reduced lag phase in media containing xylose as sole carbon source and outcompetes the wildtype cells under these conditions. Mass spectrometry, polysome profiling and mRNA binding competition experiments suggest that rancRNA_s194 prevents the cstA mRNA from being efficiently translated by H. volcanii ribosomes. These findings enlarge the regulatory repertoire of archaeal sRNAs in modulating post-transcriptional gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Archaeal Proteins / genetics*
  • Archaeal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Archaeal
  • Haloferax volcanii / genetics
  • Haloferax volcanii / growth & development*
  • Haloferax volcanii / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Protein Biosynthesis
  • RNA, Archaeal / genetics
  • RNA, Archaeal / metabolism
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics*
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism
  • Ribosomes / metabolism*
  • Xylose / metabolism


  • Archaeal Proteins
  • RNA, Archaeal
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • Xylose