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Nucleic Acids Res. 2014 Apr;42(8):4892-905. doi: 10.1093/nar/gku149. Epub 2014 Feb 20.

A small RNA controls a protein regulator involved in antibiotic resistance in Staphylococcus aureus.

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Université de Rennes I, Inserm U835, Upres EA2311, Biochimie Pharmaceutique, 2 avenue du Prof. Léon Bernard, 35043 Rennes, France.


The emergence of Staphylococcus aureus strains that are resistant to glycopeptides has led to alarming scenarios where serious staphylococcal infections cannot be treated. The bacterium expresses many small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) that have unknown biological functions for the most part. Here we show that an S. aureus sRNA, SprX (alias RsaOR), shapes bacterial resistance to glycopeptides, the invaluable treatments for Methicillin-resistant staphylococcal infections. Modifying SprX expression levels influences Vancomycin and Teicoplanin glycopeptide resistance. Comparative proteomic studies have identified that SprX specifically downregulates stage V sporulation protein G, SpoVG. SpoVG is produced from the yabJ-spoVG operon and contributes to S. aureus glycopeptide resistance. SprX negatively regulates SpoVG expression by direct antisense pairings at the internal translation initiation signals of the second operon gene, without modifying bicistronic mRNA expression levels or affecting YabJ translation. The SprX and yabJ-spoVG mRNA domains involved in the interaction have been identified, highlighting the importance of a CU-rich loop of SprX in the control of SpoVG expression. We have shown that SpoVG might not be the unique SprX target involved in the glycopeptide resistance and demonstrated that the regulation of glycopeptide sensitivity involves the CU-rich domain of SprX. Here we report the case of a sRNA influencing antibiotic resistance of a major human pathogen.

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