[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen that is capable of producing an expansive repertoire of cell surface-associated and extracellular virulence factors. Herein we describe an S. aureus regulatory RNA, SSR42, which modulates the expression of approximately 80 mRNA species, including several virulence factors, in S. aureus strains UAMS-1 and USA300 (LAC) during stationary-phase growth. Mutagenesis studies revealed that SSR42 codes for an 891-nucleotide RNA molecule and that the molecule's regulatory effects are mediated by the full-length transcript. Western blotting and functional assays indicated that the regulatory effects of SSR42 correlate with biologically significant changes in corresponding protein abundances. Further, in S. aureus strain LAC, SSR42 is required for wild-type levels of erythrocyte lysis, resistance to human polymorphonuclear leukocyte killing, and pathogenesis in a murine model of skin and soft tissue infection. Taken together, our results indicate that SSR42 is a novel S. aureus regulatory RNA molecule that contributes to the organism's ability to cause disease.
Journal of bacteriology 04/2012; 194(11):2924-38. · 3.94 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The modulation of mRNA turnover is gaining recognition as a mechanism by which Staphylococcus aureus regulates gene expression, but the factors that orchestrate alterations in transcript degradation are poorly understood. In that regard, we previously found that 138 mRNA species, including transcripts coding for the virulence factors protein A (spa) and collagen-binding protein (cna), are stabilized in a sarA-dependent manner during exponential phase growth, suggesting that SarA directly or indirectly affects the RNA turnover properties of these transcripts. Herein, we expanded our characterization of the effects of sarA on mRNA turnover during late-exponential and stationary phases of growth. Results revealed that the locus affects the RNA degradation properties of cells during both growth phases. Further, using gel mobility shift assays and RIP-Chip, it was found that SarA protein is capable of binding mRNA species that it stabilizes both in vitro and within bacterial cells. Taken together, these results suggest that SarA post-transcriptionally regulates S. aureus gene expression in a manner that involves binding to and consequently altering the mRNA turnover properties of target transcripts.
Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology 01/2012; 2:26.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive pathogen capable of causing a wide array of infections owing, in large part, to the coordinated expression of an extensive repertoire of virulence factors. Our laboratory and others have shown that the expression of these factors can occur post-transcriptionally at the level of mRNA turnover and is mediated by ribonucleases, RNA-binding proteins, and regulatory RNA molecules. Moreover, S. aureus harbors the ability to alter the stability of its mRNA titers in response to physiological stresses, including antibiotic exposure. Although ongoing studies are attempting to identify the molecular components that modulate S. aureus mRNA turnover, innovative approaches to target these essential processes have established a novel group of targets for therapeutic development against staphylococcal infections.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is estimated to cause more U.S. deaths annually than HIV/AIDS. The emergence of hypervirulent and multidrug-resistant strains has further amplified public health concern and accentuated the need for new classes of antibiotics. RNA degradation is a required cellular process that could be exploited for novel antimicrobial drug development. However, such discovery efforts have been hindered because components of the Gram-positive RNA turnover machinery are incompletely defined. In the current study we found that the essential S. aureus protein, RnpA, catalyzes rRNA and mRNA digestion in vitro. Exploiting this activity, high through-put and secondary screening assays identified a small molecule inhibitor of RnpA-mediated in vitro RNA degradation. This agent was shown to limit cellular mRNA degradation and exhibited antimicrobial activity against predominant methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) lineages circulating throughout the U.S., vancomycin intermediate susceptible S. aureus (VISA), vancomycin resistant S. aureus (VRSA) and other Gram-positive bacterial pathogens with high RnpA amino acid conservation. We also found that this RnpA-inhibitor ameliorates disease in a systemic mouse infection model and has antimicrobial activity against biofilm-associated S. aureus. Taken together, these findings indicate that RnpA, either alone, as a component of the RNase P holoenzyme, and/or as a member of a more elaborate complex, may play a role in S. aureus RNA degradation and provide proof of principle for RNA catabolism-based antimicrobial therapy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acinetobacter baumannii is an emerging bacterial pathogen of considerable health care concern. Nonetheless, relatively little is known about the organism's virulence factors or their regulatory networks. Septicemia and ventilator-associated pneumonia are two of the more severe forms of A. baumannii disease. To identify virulence factors that may contribute to these disease processes, genetically diverse A. baumannii clinical isolates were evaluated for the ability to proliferate in human serum. A transposon mutant library was created in a strain background that propagated well in serum and screened for members with decreased serum growth. The results revealed that disruption of A. baumannii phospholipase D (PLD) caused a reduction in the organism's ability to thrive in serum, a deficiency in epithelial cell invasion, and diminished pathogenesis in a murine model of pneumonia. Collectively, these results suggest that PLD is an A. baumannii virulence factor.
Infection and immunity 03/2010; 78(5):1952-62. · 4.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The regulation of mRNA turnover is a dynamic means by which bacteria regulate gene expression. Although current methodologies allow characterization of the stability of individual transcripts, procedures designed to measure alterations in transcript abundance/turnover on a high throughput scale are lacking. In the current report, we describe the development of a rapid and simplified molecular beacon-based procedure to directly measure the mRNA abundances and mRNA degradation properties of well-characterized Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity factors. This method does not require any PCR-based amplification, can monitor the abundances of multiple transcripts within a single RNA sample, and was successfully implemented into a high throughput screen of transposon mutant library members to detect isolates with altered mRNA turnover properties. It is expected that the described methodology will provide great utility in characterizing components of bacterial RNA degradation processes and can be used to directly measure the mRNA levels of virtually any bacterial transcript.
Journal of Microbiological Methods 11/2008; 76(2):146-51. · 2.16 Impact Factor