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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology