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J Bacteriol. 2014 Sep;196(18):3234-48. doi: 10.1128/JB.01923-14. Epub 2014 Jun 30.

Pleiotropic role of the RNA chaperone protein Hfq in the human pathogen Clostridium difficile.

Author information

1
Laboratoire Pathogenèse des Bactéries Anaérobies, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Cellule Pasteur, Paris, France.
2
CNRS FRE3630-Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France.
3
Laboratoire Pathogenèse des Bactéries Anaérobies, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France.
4
Laboratoire Pathogenèse des Bactéries Anaérobies, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Cellule Pasteur, Paris, France olga.soutourina@pasteur.fr.

Abstract

Clostridium difficile is an emergent human pathogen and the most common cause of nosocomial diarrhea. Our recent data strongly suggest the importance of RNA-based mechanisms for the control of gene expression in C. difficile. In an effort to understand the function of the RNA chaperone protein Hfq, we constructed and characterized an Hfq-depleted strain in C. difficile. Hfq depletion led to a growth defect, morphological changes, an increased sensitivity to stresses, and a better ability to sporulate and to form biofilms. The transcriptome analysis revealed pleiotropic effects of Hfq depletion on gene expression in C. difficile, including genes encoding proteins involved in sporulation, stress response, metabolic pathways, cell wall-associated proteins, transporters, and transcriptional regulators and genes of unknown function. Remarkably, a great number of genes of the regulon dependent on sporulation-specific sigma factor, SigK, were upregulated in the Hfq-depleted strain. The altered accumulation of several sRNAs and interaction of Hfq with selected sRNAs suggest potential involvement of Hfq in these regulatory RNA functions. Altogether, these results suggest the pleiotropic role of Hfq protein in C. difficile physiology, including processes important for the C. difficile infection cycle, and expand our knowledge of Hfq-dependent regulation in Gram-positive bacteria.

PMID:
24982306
PMCID:
PMC4135688
DOI:
10.1128/JB.01923-14
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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