Translation of the stationary phase sigma factor RpoS is stimulated by at least two small RNAs, DsrA and RprA. DsrA disrupts an inhibitory secondary structure in the rpoS leader mRNA by pairing with the upstream RNA. Mutations in rprA and compensating mutations in the rpoS leader demonstrate that RprA interacts with the same region of the RpoS leader as DsrA. This is the first example of two different small RNAs regulating a common target. Regulation of these RNAs differs. DsrA synthesis is increased at low temperature. We find that RprA synthesis is regulated by the RcsC/RcsB phosphorelay system, previously found to regulate capsule synthesis and promoters of ftsZ and osmC. An rcsB null mutation abolishes the basal level, whereas mutations in rcsC that activate capsule synthesis also activate expression of the rprA promoter. An essential site with similarity to other RcsB-regulated promoters was defined in the rprA promoter. Activation of the RcsC/RcsB system leads to increased RpoS synthesis, in an RprA-dependent fashion. This work suggests a new signal for RpoS translation and extends the global regulation effected by the RcsC/RcsB system to coregulation of RpoS with capsule and FtsZ.
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