It is now established that base-pairing regulatory RNAs are key players in post-transcriptional regulatory networks where they affect the translation and/or stability of their target RNAs. In many cases, the base-pairing between two RNAs is facilitated by an RNA-binding protein (RBP) that serves as an RNA chaperone. Recent advances in sequencing methods have revealed the RNA populations bound by the RBPs, yielding insights valuable into regulatory networks. Further analyses of these networks can improve our understanding of the roles played by RBPs in the regulation of gene expression by regulatory RNAs, especially when multiple RBPs are involved. For example, using an RNA sequencing-based methodology that captures RNA–RNA pairs on RBP, an interplay between two RBPs in bacteria that compete on the same RNA–RNA pair was revealed. In this case, one protein promotes negative regulation of the target RNA, while the second protein can block this regulation. In this mini-review, I outline the exciting future directions that can be taken to deepen our understanding of the roles played by RBPs in post-transcriptional regulation, and discuss how the different sequencing methods can assist in deciphering the relationships among RBPs, and between the RBPs and the RNAs they bind. Having a more detailed picture of the RBPs–RNAs network will elucidate how bacteria can have nuanced control of gene expression, critical for survival in the varied environments in which bacteria live.
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- RNA chaperones
- RNA-binding proteins
- Small RNAs