The discovery of small noncoding regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) in bacteria has grown tremendously recently, giving new insights into gene regulation. The implementation of computational analysis and RNA sequencing has provided new tools to discover and analyze potential sRNAs. Small regulatory RNAs that act by base-pairing to target mRNAs have been found to be ubiquitous and are the most abundant class of post-transcriptional regulators in bacteria. The majority of sRNA studies has been limited to E. coli
and other gram-negative bacteria. However, examples of sRNAs in gram-positive bacteria are still plentiful although the detailed gene regulation mechanisms behind them are not as well understood. Strict virulence control is critical for a pathogen’s survival and many sRNAs have been found to be involved in that process. This review outlines the targets and currently known mechanisms of trans
-acting sRNAs involved in virulence regulation in various gram-positive pathogens. In addition, their shared characteristics such as CU interaction motifs, the role of Hfq, and involvement in two-component regulators, riboswitches, quorum sensing, or toxin/antitoxin systems are described.
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