Mechanisms underlying the virulence regulation of new Vibrio alginolyticus ncRNA Vvrr1 with a comparative proteomic analysis

The incidence of Vibrio alginolyticus infections has increased in recent years due to the influence of climate change and rising sea temperature. Vibrio virulence regulatory RNA 1 (Vvrr1) is a newly found noncoding RNA (ncRNA) predicted to be closely related to the adhesion ability of V. alginolyticus based on the previous RNA-seq. In this study, the target genes of Vvrr1 were fully screened and verified by constructing Vvrr1-overexpressing strains and using the proteome sequencing technology. Pyruvate kinase I (pykF) gene was predicted to be a chief target gene of Vvrr1 involved in virulence regulation. The adhesion ability, biofilm formation and virulence were significantly reduced in the Vvrr1-overexpressing and the pykF-silenced strain compared with the wild strains. Similar to the overexpression of Vvrr1, the silencing of pykF also reduced the expression level of virulence genes, such as ndk, eno, sdhB, glpF, and cysH. Meanwhile, by constructing the “pykF-GFP” fusion expression plasmid and using the GFP reporter gene analysis in Escherichia coli, the fluorescence intensity of the strain containing Vvrr1 whole ncRNA sequence vector was found to be significantly weakened. These indicated that Vvrr1 participated in the virulence regulation mechanism of V. alginolyticus by interacting with the virulence gene pykF.