The functions of several SOS regulated genes in Escherichia coli are still unknown, including dinQ. In this work we characterize dinQ and two small RNAs, agrA and agrB, with antisense complementarity to dinQ. Northern analysis revealed five dinQ transcripts, but only one transcript (+44) is actively translated. The +44 dinQ transcript translates into a toxic single transmembrane peptide localized in the inner membrane. AgrB regulates dinQ RNA by RNA interference to counteract DinQ toxicity. Thus the dinQ-agr locus shows the classical features of a type I TA system and has many similarities to the tisB-istR locus. DinQ overexpression depolarizes the cell membrane and decreases the intracellular ATP concentration, demonstrating that DinQ can modulate membrane-dependent processes. Augmented DinQ strongly inhibits marker transfer by Hfr conjugation, indicating a role in recombination. Furthermore, DinQ affects transformation of nucleoid morphology in response to UV damage. We hypothesize that DinQ is a transmembrane peptide that modulates membranedependent activities such as nucleoid compaction and recombination.
Copyright: 2013 Weel-Sneve et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.