Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 34290242
Link to DOI – 10.1038/s41467-021-24689-2
Nat Commun 2021 07; 12(1): 4433
The small, regulatory RNA RepG (Regulator of polymeric G-repeats) regulates the expression of the chemotaxis receptor TlpB in Helicobacter pylori by targeting a variable G-repeat in the tlpB mRNA leader. Here, we show that RepG additionally controls lipopolysaccharide (LPS) phase variation by also modulating the expression of a gene (hp0102) that is co-transcribed with tlpB. The hp0102 gene encodes a glycosyltransferase required for LPS O-chain biosynthesis and in vivo colonization of the mouse stomach. The G-repeat length defines a gradual (rather than ON/OFF) control of LPS biosynthesis by RepG, and leads to gradual resistance to a membrane-targeting antibiotic. Thus, RepG-mediated modulation of LPS structure might impact host immune recognition and antibiotic sensitivity, thereby helping H. pylori to adapt and persist in the host.