RNA-mediated control of cell shape modulates antibiotic resistance in Vibrio cholerae

Nat Commun. 2020 Nov 27;11(1):6067. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19890-8.


Vibrio cholerae, the cause of cholera disease, exhibits a characteristic curved rod morphology, which promotes infectivity and motility in dense hydrogels. Periplasmic protein CrvA determines cell curvature in V. cholerae, yet the regulatory factors controlling CrvA are unknown. Here, we discover the VadR small RNA (sRNA) as a post-transcriptional inhibitor of the crvA mRNA. Mutation of vadR increases cell curvature, whereas overexpression has the inverse effect. We show that vadR transcription is activated by the VxrAB two-component system and triggered by cell-wall-targeting antibiotics. V. cholerae cells failing to repress crvA by VadR display decreased survival upon challenge with penicillin G indicating that cell shape maintenance by the sRNA is critical for antibiotic resistance. VadR also blocks the expression of various key biofilm genes and thereby inhibits biofilm formation in V. cholerae. Thus, VadR is an important regulator for synchronizing peptidoglycan integrity, cell shape, and biofilm formation in V. cholerae.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Base Sequence
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Mutation / genetics
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vibrio cholerae / cytology*
  • Vibrio cholerae / genetics*
  • Vibrio cholerae / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Repressor Proteins