RsaE is a regulatory RNA highly conserved amongst Firmicutes that lowers the amount of mRNAs associated with the TCA cycle and folate metabolism. A search for new RsaE targets in Staphylococcus aureus revealed that in addition to previously described substrates, RsaE down-regulates several genes associated with arginine catabolism. In particular, RsaE targets the arginase rocF mRNA via direct interactions involving G-rich motifs. Two duplicated C-rich motifs of RsaE can independently downregulate rocF expression. The faster growth rate of rsaE compared to its parental strain in media containing amino acids as sole carbon source points to an underlying role for RsaE in amino acid catabolism. Collectively, the data support a model in which RsaE acts as a global regulator of functions associated with metabolic adaptation.
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