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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 592196, 18 pages
Review Article

When Ribonucleases Come into Play in Pathogens: A Survey of Gram-Positive Bacteria

Architecture et réactivité de l’ARN, UPR 9002 CNRS, IBMC, Université de Strasbourg, 15 rue René Descartes, 67084 Strasbourg, France

Received 17 October 2011; Accepted 27 November 2011

Academic Editor: John Tagg

Copyright © 2012 Brian C. Jester et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


It is widely acknowledged that RNA stability plays critical roles in bacterial adaptation and survival in different environments like those encountered when bacteria infect a host. Bacterial ribonucleases acting alone or in concert with regulatory RNAs or RNA binding proteins are the mediators of the regulatory outcome on RNA stability. We will give a current update of what is known about ribonucleases in the model Gram-positive organism Bacillus subtilis and will describe their established roles in virulence in several Gram-positive pathogenic bacteria that are imposing major health concerns worldwide. Implications on bacterial evolution through stabilization/transfer of genetic material (phage or plasmid DNA) as a result of ribonucleases' functions will be covered. The role of ribonucleases in emergence of antibiotic resistance and new concepts in drug design will additionally be discussed.