RNA atlas of human bacterial pathogens uncovers stress dynamics linked to infection

Nat Commun. 2021 Jun 2;12(1):3282. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23588-w.


Bacterial processes necessary for adaption to stressful host environments are potential targets for new antimicrobials. Here, we report large-scale transcriptomic analyses of 32 human bacterial pathogens grown under 11 stress conditions mimicking human host environments. The potential relevance of the in vitro stress conditions and responses is supported by comparisons with available in vivo transcriptomes of clinically important pathogens. Calculation of a probability score enables comparative cross-microbial analyses of the stress responses, revealing common and unique regulatory responses to different stresses, as well as overlapping processes participating in different stress responses. We identify conserved and species-specific 'universal stress responders', that is, genes showing altered expression in multiple stress conditions. Non-coding RNAs are involved in a substantial proportion of the responses. The data are collected in a freely available, interactive online resource (PATHOgenex).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Atlases as Topic
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / classification
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / classification
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / genetics*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / metabolism
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / pathogenicity
  • Host Microbial Interactions / genetics
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Bacterial / genetics*
  • RNA, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics*
  • Transcriptome*


  • RNA, Bacterial