From being regarded a minor class of RNAs, ncRNAs (non-coding RNAs, mostly antisense) have recently emerged as ubiquitous key players in important life processes in animals, plants, fungi and metazoans. Similarly, 65 small ncRNAs, encoded by the E. coli genome, have been recently identified, and additional ones are being discovered in other bacterial species. Many of these RNAs play key roles in the control of global regulatory networks, e.g. in stress responses.

The team will use its multidisciplinary expertise in the fields of microbial pathogenicity, RNA biology, biochemistry and computational biology. Some team members investigate novel ncRNAs and their targets (mRNA or proteins) in several representative pathogens (Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pyogenes). Their roles in the establishment of bacterial pathogenicity will be analysed. Infection studies using cell culture will allow the validation of ncRNAs and respective targets in virulence. Structural and mechanistic aspects of the ncRNAs will elucidate their interaction with the targets. Research on these topics will propose how the regulatory ncRNAs are integrated into the general network of control of stress responses, host adaptation and bacterial virulence. Since the long-term objective of BACRNAs is to generate fundamental knowledge that can be directly applicable for therapeutic purposes to combat bacterial infections, the team expects with this research to identify novel targets for drug design strategies (SME partner).


Applicant University of Vienna, Austria
Coordinator Prof. Renée Schroeder, Department of Biochemistery
Number of partners 8 institutions with 12 partners from Austria, France, Israel and Sweden
PUNKT's responsibilities Creation of the proposal's concept, composition of the expository, organisational, administrative and financial considerations of the project, project-coordination, -organisation and -communication with all participating institutions and partners.
Status Funded and completed in 2009; LSHG-CT-2005-018618