Posttranscriptional Regulation of Oral Bacterial Adaptive Responses

Justin Merritt, Zhiyun Chen, Nan Liu, Jens Kreth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Within the past 10 years, it has become increasingly evident that posttranscriptional regulation is among the most important mechanisms used by bacteria to modulate gene expression in response to environmental perturbations. Posttranscriptional mechanisms provide a much faster response and lower energy burden compared with most transcription regulatory pathways, and they have the unique advantage that they can override existing transcriptional responses once the environment changes. Because of this, virulence factor gene expression is particularly suited for posttranscriptional control, and not surprisingly, an abundance of recent evidence indicates that posttranscriptional regulators are the predominant virulence regulators of human pathogens. Typically, this involves global riboregulators that primarily serve as modulators of virulence gene translation initiation and/or mRNA stability. Surprisingly little has been reported about posttranscriptional regulatory pathways in oral bacteria, but recent results suggest that oral species are equally dependent upon posttranscriptional control of their adaptive genetic responses. In this report, we discuss the major themes in RNA-based regulation of gene expression and review the available literature related to the most commonly studied oral bacterial species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)50-58
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Oral Health Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Environmental adaptation
  • Gene regulation
  • Oral Microbiology
  • Posttranscriptional regulation
  • RNA processing
  • RNase E
  • RNase J1
  • RNase J2
  • RNase Y
  • Ribonucleases
  • Small RNA
  • Streptococcus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Microbiology (miscellaneous)
  • Oral Surgery
  • Surgery


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