Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34669693
Link to DOI – 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009748
PLoS Genet 2021 10; 17(10): e1009748
Antibiotic resistance has become a major global issue. Understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying microbial adaptation to antibiotics is of keen importance to fight Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). Aminoglycosides are a class of antibiotics that target the small subunit of the bacterial ribosome, disrupting translational fidelity and increasing the levels of misfolded proteins in the cell. In this work, we investigated the role of VchM, a DNA methyltransferase, in the response of the human pathogen Vibrio cholerae to aminoglycosides. VchM is a V. cholerae specific orphan m5C DNA methyltransferase that generates cytosine methylation at 5′-RCCGGY-3′ motifs. We show that deletion of vchM, although causing a growth defect in absence of stress, allows V. cholerae cells to cope with aminoglycoside stress at both sub-lethal and lethal concentrations of these antibiotics. Through transcriptomic and genetic approaches, we show that groESL-2 (a specific set of chaperonin-encoding genes located on the second chromosome of V. cholerae), are upregulated in cells lacking vchM and are needed for the tolerance of vchM mutant to lethal aminoglycoside treatment, likely by fighting aminoglycoside-induced misfolded proteins. Interestingly, preventing VchM methylation of the four RCCGGY sites located in groESL-2 region, leads to a higher expression of these genes in WT cells, showing that the expression of these chaperonins is modulated in V. cholerae by DNA methylation.