Balanced cell division is secured by two different regulatory sites in OxyS RNA

Maya Elgrably-Weiss, Fayyaz Hussain, Jens Georg, Bushra Shraiteh, Shoshy Altuvia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hydrogen peroxide-induced small RNA OxyS has been proposed to originate from the 3′′ UTR of a peroxide mRNA. Unexpectedly, phylogenetic OxyS targetome predictions indicate that most OxyS targets belong to the category of “cell cycle,” including cell division and cell elongation. Previously, we reported that Escherichia coli OxyS inhibits cell division by repressing expression of the essential transcription termination factor nusG, thereby leading to the expression of the KilR protein, which interferes with the function of the major cell division protein, FtsZ. By interfering with cell division, OxyS brings about cell-cycle arrest, thus allowing DNA damage repair. Cell division and cell elongation are opposing functions to the extent that inhibition of cell division requires a parallel inhibition of cell elongation for the cells to survive. In this study, we report that in addition to cell division, OxyS inhibits mepS, which encodes an essential peptidoglycan endopeptidase that is responsible for cell elongation. Our study indicates that cell-cycle arrest and balancing between cell division and cell elongation are important and conserved functions of the oxidative stress-induced sRNA OxyS.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)124-135
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 16 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elgrably-Weiss et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.


  • E. coli
  • OxyS small RNA
  • cell-cycle arrest
  • damage repair
  • oxidative stress


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