Encodes for the riboswitch used as a regulator in the putative efflux pump mntP. The riboswitch will continue transcription in the presence of manganese and forms the hairpin structure when there is less than 10µM as shown by Waters et al, 2011.
Sequence and Features
- 10COMPATIBLE WITH RFC
- 12COMPATIBLE WITH RFC
- 21COMPATIBLE WITH RFC
- 23COMPATIBLE WITH RFC
- 25COMPATIBLE WITH RFC
- 1000Illegal BsaI.rc site found at 104
Contribution by iGEM Team Tuebingen 2020
Group: Team Tuebingen 2020
Author: Lea Vogt, Lina Widerspick
Riboswitches are small cis-regulatory RNA elements that are co-transcribed with genes subjected to their regulation (reviewed in Serganov and Nudler, 2013 ). Binding of their specific target molecule triggers a structural change, that either allows or suppresses the expression of the gene . This feature can be used in synthetic biology applications, where it might be beneficial that riboswitches do not need to be translated , unlike regulatory repressors or activator proteins. This putatively allows quick reaction to the presence of a physiological substance. Accordingly, our team, iGEM Tuebingen 2020, decided to use this riboswitch as a core element of our manganese-biosensor. It was combined together with a constitutive Anderson-Promoter (BBa_J23102) or a manganese-inducible promoter (BBa_K902073) to regulate the expression of a fluorescence-tagged (FAST-2-Tag BBa_K3510000) phytochelatin (BBa_K1321005) or a chromoprotein (BBa_K864401). You can find our four different constructs with the following part numbers: BBa_K3510002, BBa_K3510003, Ba_K3510004, and BBa_K3510005.
In 2011, Waters et. al. mentioned this riboswitch as an “uncharacterized riboswitch regulatory element” when they investigated the transcriptional regulator MntR in E. coli . This is also the paper, where Team Calgary 2012 obtained the sequence for this biobrick. The transcription factor MntR is now known to control manganese homeostasis by repressing the manganese importer MntH  and upregulating MntP , a putative manganese efflux pump. With some more years of research, Dambach et al. were able to assign the riboswitch to the yybP-ykoY – family . The authors modeled the secondary structure of the first 110 nucleotides of the mntP 5′ UTR, using the yybP-ykoY consensus structure  supported by enzymatic and lead structure probing . This part, that corresponds to the yybP-ykoY motif, is highly conserved, while the remainder is more variable .
Interestingly, the authors found that the regulation of the MntP manganese exporter consists of two independently contributing elements (Figure 1). First, the inducible promoter (BBa_K902073) allows for transcription, when activated by the regulatory proteins MntR and Fur. These only bind to the promoter region when cells are exposed to high manganese levels and antagonize the repressive effects of histone-like proteins . Second, the riboswitch itself in the 5’ untranslated region (UTR) . Mechanistically, the interaction of manganese with the riboswitch and the thus induced structural change in the element increases the ribosomal binding site accessibility. As a consequence, translation initiation of the co-transcribed gene, MntP, is possible .
Figure 1: Regulation of manganese levels in E. coli. During high cellular manganese levels the regulators MntR (yellow) and Fur activate the promoter (green) of the mntP gene (purple). This allows for transcription, but binding of manganese to the riboswitch (orange) is necessary for following translation and expression of the manganese efflux pump MntP (purple). This leads to export of manganese and lowers intracellular manganese concentrations. Additionally, MntR downregulates the expression of MntH (blue) a manganese importer. When little manganese is present in the cell, this downregulation stops and manganese is transported into the cell. At the same time, the riboswitch prevents translation of mntP and manganese export by MntP is decreased.
A 10-min exposure to 10 µM MnCl2 is sufficient for induction of the mntP transcript via this control mechanism . Correspondingly, deletion of mntP or mntR results in heightened sensitivity to manganese and increased intracellular levels. Growth reduction of these phenotypes were specific to manganese, as inhibition could not be reproduced by other metals like zinc, magnesium, iron, nickel, or copper .
Further studies have identified the yybP-ykoY riboswitch family functioning as manganese sensor in multiple organisms, namely Escherichia coli [6, 4], Bacillus subtilis , Lactococcus lactis , Xanthomonas oryzae , Streptococcus pneumoniae , and it is also suggested for Vibrio cholerae . Suddala et. al. solved the crystal structure of this riboswitch and revealed it forms direct inner-sphere contacts to manganese (II) ion from five phosphoryl oxygen and the N7 of an invariable adenosine . Further, it showed that the manganese binding pocket consists of two distal helical legs docking in a four-way junction (4WJ) [8, 9]. Nevertheless, the structure of the binding pocket does not necessarily seem to be identical for the yybP-ykoY riboswitch from different species .
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- Martin JE, Le MT, Bhattarai N, Capdevila DA, Shen J, Winkler ME et al. A Mn-sensing riboswitch activates expression of a Mn2+/Ca2+ ATPase transporter in Streptococcus. Nucleic Acids Res 2019; 47(13):6885–99.
- Fisher CR, Wyckoff EE, Peng ED, Payne SM. Identification and Characterization of a Putative Manganese Export Protein in Vibrio cholerae. J Bacteriol 2016; 198(20):2810–7.