Nature communications

Cellulosome stoichiometry in Clostridium cellulolyticum is regulated by selective RNA processing and stabilization.

PMID 25908225


The mechanism, physiological relevance and evolutionary implication of selective RNA processing and stabilization (SRPS) remain elusive. Here we report the genome-wide maps of transcriptional start sites (TSs) and post-transcriptional processed sites (PSs) for Clostridium cellulolyticum. The PS-associated genes are preferably associated with subunits of heteromultimeric protein complexes, and the intergenic PSs (iPSs) are enriched in operons exhibiting highly skewed transcript-abundance landscape. Stem-loop structures associated with those iPSs located at 3' termini of highly transcribed genes exhibit folding free energy negatively correlated with transcript-abundance ratio of flanking genes. In the cellulosome-encoding cip-cel operon, iPSs and stem-loops precisely regulate structure and abundance of the subunit-encoding transcripts processed from a primary polycistronic RNA, quantitatively specifying cellulosome stoichiometry. Moreover, cellulosome evolution is shaped by the number, position and biophysical nature of TSs, iPSs and stem-loops. Our findings unveil a genome-wide RNA-encoded strategy controlling in vivo stoichiometry of protein complexes.