Ribosome hibernation factor promotes Staphylococcal survival and differentially represses translation

Arnab Basu, Mee-Ngan Frances Yap*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


In opportunistic Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus, a small protein called hibernation-promoting factor (HPFSa) is sufficient to dimerize 2.5-MDa 70S ribosomes into a translationally inactive 100S complex. Although the 100S dimer is observed in only the stationary phase in Gram-negative gammaproteobacteria, it is ubiquitous throughout all growth phases in S. aureus. The biological significance of the 100S ribosome is poorly understood. Here, we reveal an important role of HPFSa in preserving ribosome integrity and poising cells for translational restart, a process that has significant clinical implications for relapsed staphylococcal infections. We found that the hpf null strain is severely impaired in long-term viability concomitant with a dramatic loss of intact ribosomes. Genome-wide ribosome profiling shows that eliminating HPFSa drastically increased ribosome occupancy at the 5' end of specific mRNAs under nutrient-limited conditions, suggesting that HPFSa may suppress translation initiation. The protective function of HPFSa on ribosomes resides at the N-terminal conserved basic residues and the extended C-terminal segment, which are critical for dimerization and ribosome binding, respectively. These data provide significant insight into the functional consequences of 100S ribosome loss for protein synthesis and stress adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4881-4893
Number of pages13
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jun 2 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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