Thermal and nutritional regulation of ribosome hibernation in Staphylococcus aureus

Arnab Basu, Kathryn E. Shields, Christopher S. Eickhoff, Daniel F. Hoft, Mee-Ngan Frances Yap*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The translationally silent 100S ribosome is a poorly understood form of the dimeric 70S complex that is ubiquitously found in all bacterial phyla. The elimination of the hibernating 100S ribosome leads to translational derepression, ribosome instability, antibiotic sensitivity, and biofilm defects in some bacteria. In Firmicutes, such as the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, a 190-amino acid protein called hibernating-promoting factor (HPF) dimerizes and conjoins two 70S ribosomes through a direct interaction between the HPF homodimer, with each HPF monomer tethered on an individual 70S complex. While the formation of the 100S ribosome in gammaproteobacteria and cyanobacteria is exclusively induced during postexponential growth phase and darkness, respectively, the 100S ribosomes in Firmicutes are constitutively produced from the lag-logarithmic phase through the post-stationary phase. Very little is known about the regulatory pathways that control hpf expression and 100S ribosome abundance. Here, we show that a general stress response (GSR) sigma factor (SigB) and a GTP-sensing transcription factor (CodY) integrate nutrient and thermal signals to regulate hpf synthesis in S. aureus, resulting in an enhanced virulence of the pathogen in a mouse model of septicemic infection. CodY-dependent regulation of hpf is strain specific. An epistasis analysis further demonstrated that CodY functions upstream of the GSR pathway in a condition-dependent manner. The results reveal an important link between S. aureus stress physiology, ribosome metabolism, and infection biology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00426
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • CodY
  • General stress response
  • HPF
  • HflX
  • Hibernation
  • Ribosome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology


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