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Characterization of HicAB toxin-antitoxin module of Sinorhizobium meliloti

Abstract : Background - Toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are little genetic units generally composed of two genes encoding antitoxin and toxin. These systems are known to be involved in many functions that can lead to growth arrest and cell death. Among the different types of TA systems, the type II gathers together systems where the antitoxin directly binds and inhibits the toxin. Among these type II TA systems, the HicAB module is widely distributed in free-living Bacteria and Archaea and the toxin HicA functions via RNA binding and cleavage. The genome of the symbiotic Sinorhizobium meliloti encodes numerous TA systems and only a few of them are functional. Among the predicted TA systems, there is one homologous to HicAB modules.Results - In this study, we characterize the HicAB toxin-antitoxin module of S. meliloti. The production of the HicA of S. meliloti in Escherichia coli cells abolishes growth and decreases cell viability. We show that expression of the HicB of S. meliloti counteracts HicA toxicity. The results of double hybrid assays and co-purification experiments allow demonstrating the interaction of HicB with the toxin HicA. Purified HicA, but not HicAB complex, is able to degrade ribosomal RNA in vitro. The analysis of separated domains of HicB protein permits us to define the antitoxin activity and the operator-binding domain. Conclusions - This study points out the first characterization of the HicAB system of the symbiotic S. meliloti whereas HicA is a toxin with ribonuclease activity and HicB has two domains: the COOH-terminal one that binds the operator and the NH2-terminal one that inhibits the toxin.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 3:28:22 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - 4:45:58 PM
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Manon Thomet, Annie Trautwetter, Gwennola Ermel, Carlos Blanco. Characterization of HicAB toxin-antitoxin module of Sinorhizobium meliloti. BMC Microbiology, BioMed Central, 2019, 19 (1), pp.10. ⟨10.1186/s12866-018-1382-6⟩. ⟨hal-01993660⟩



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