Regulation of neutrophil myeloperoxidase inhibitor SPIN by the small RNA Teg49 in Staphylococcus aureus

Mol Microbiol. 2022 Jun;117(6):1447-1463. doi: 10.1111/mmi.14919. Epub 2022 May 31.


Teg49 is a Staphylococcus aureus trans-acting regulatory sRNA derived from cleavage of the sarA P3 transcript. We showed by RNA-Seq here that the 5' trident-like structure in Teg49 regulates transcriptionally (direct and indirect) 22 genes distinct from sarA. Among these, Teg49 was noted to repress spn, encoding a 102 residue preprotein which yields the mature 73 residue peptide which inhibits the catalytic activity of myeloperoxidase in human neutrophils. Teg49 was found to regulate spn mRNA post-transcriptionally in strain SH1000 through 9-nt base-pairing between hairpin loop 2 of Teg49 and an exposed bulge of the spn mRNA. Mutations of the Teg49 binding site disrupted the repression of spn, leading to reduced degradation, and increased half-life of spn mRNA in the Teg49 mutant. The spn-Teg49 interaction was also confirmed with a synonymous spn mutation to yield enhanced spn expression in the mutant vs. the parent. The Teg49 mutant with increased spn expression exhibited enhanced resistance to MPO activity in vitro. Killing assays with human neutrophils showed that the Teg49 mutant was more resistant to killing after phagocytosis. Altogether, this study shows that Teg49 in S. aureus has a distinct and important regulatory profile whereby this sRNA modulates resistance to myeloperoxidase-mediated killing by human neutrophils.

Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; spn; RNA; SPIN; gene expression; human neutrophils; myeloperoxidase; regulatory small RNA; virulence.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / genetics
  • Humans
  • Neutrophils
  • Peroxidase / genetics
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Untranslated* / genetics
  • RNA, Small Untranslated* / metabolism
  • Staphylococcal Infections*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Untranslated
  • Peroxidase