Diversity and prevalence of ANTAR RNAs across actinobacteria

BMC Microbiol. 2021 May 29;21(1):159. doi: 10.1186/s12866-021-02234-x.


Background: Computational approaches are often used to predict regulatory RNAs in bacteria, but their success is limited to RNAs that are highly conserved across phyla, in sequence and structure. The ANTAR regulatory system consists of a family of RNAs (the ANTAR-target RNAs) that selectively recruit ANTAR proteins. This protein-RNA complex together regulates genes at the level of translation or transcriptional elongation. Despite the widespread distribution of ANTAR proteins in bacteria, their target RNAs haven't been identified in certain bacterial phyla such as actinobacteria.

Results: Here, by using a computational search model that is tuned to actinobacterial genomes, we comprehensively identify ANTAR-target RNAs in actinobacteria. These RNA motifs lie in select transcripts, often overlapping with the ribosome binding site or start codon, to regulate translation. Transcripts harboring ANTAR-target RNAs majorly encode proteins involved in the transport and metabolism of cellular metabolites like sugars, amino acids and ions; or encode transcription factors that in turn regulate diverse genes.

Conclusion: In this report, we substantially diversify and expand the family of ANTAR RNAs across bacteria. These findings now provide a starting point to investigate the actinobacterial processes that are regulated by ANTAR.

Keywords: ANTAR protein; Actinobacteria; RNA regulatory system; Structured RNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actinobacteria / classification
  • Actinobacteria / genetics*
  • Actinobacteria / isolation & purification
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Prevalence
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA-Binding Proteins