We previously reported that the rRNA methyltransferases RsmI and RsmH, which are responsible for cytidine dimethylation at position 1402 of 16S rRNA in the decoding center of the ribosome, contribute to Staphylococcus aureus virulence. Here we evaluated other 16S rRNA methyltransferases, including KsgA (RsmA), RsmB/F, RsmC, RsmD, RsmE, and RsmG. Knockout of KsgA, which methylates two adjacent adenosines at positions 1518 and 1519 of 16S rRNA in the intersubunit bridge of the ribosome, attenuated the S. aureus killing ability against silkworms. The ksgA knockout strain was sensitive to oxidative stress and had a lower survival rate in murine macrophages than the parent strain. The ksgA knockout strain exhibited decreased translational fidelity in oxidative stress conditions. Administration of N-acetyl-l-cysteine, a free-radical scavenger, restored the killing ability of the ksgA knockout strain against silkworms. These findings suggest that the methyl-modifications of 16S rRNA by KsgA contribute to maintain ribosome function under oxidative conditions and thus to S. aureus virulence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas