The role of RNA‐binding proteins in mediating adaptive responses in Gram‐positive bacteria

Niki Christopoulou, Sander Granneman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Bacteria are constantly subjected to stressful conditions, such as antibiotic exposure, nutrient limitation and oxidative stress. For pathogenic bacteria, adapting to the host environment, escaping defence mechanisms, as well as coping with antibiotic stress is crucial for their survival and the establishment of a successful infection. Stress adaptation relies heavily on the rate at which the organism can remodel its gene expression program to counteract the stress. RNA‐binding proteins mediating co‐ and post‐transcriptional regulation have recently emerged as important players in regulating gene expression during adaptive responses. Most of the research on these layers of gene expression regulation has been done in Gram‐negative model organisms where, thanks to a wide variety of global studies, large post‐transcriptional regulatory networks have been uncovered. Unfortunately, our understanding of post‐transcriptional regulation in Gram‐positive bacteria is lagging behind. One possible explanation for this is that many proteins employed by Gram‐negative bacteria are not well conserved in Gram‐positives. And even if they are conserved, they do not always play similar roles as in Gram‐negative bacteria. This raises the important question whether Gram‐positive bacteria regulate gene expression in a significantly different way. The goal of this review is to discuss this in more detail by reviewing the role of well‐known RNA‐binding proteins in Gram‐positive bacteria and by highlighting their different behaviours with respect to some of their Gram‐negative counterparts. Finally, the second part of this review introduces several unusual RNA‐binding proteins of Gram‐positive species that we believe could also play an important role in adaptive responses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFebs Journal
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2021


  • RNA‐binding proteins
  • protein‐RNA interactions
  • adaptive responses
  • bacteria
  • gram‐positive
  • gram‐negative

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