Article révisé par les pairs
|The possible carrier role of Outer Membrane Vesicles (OMVs) for small regulatory noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) has recently been demonstrated. Nevertheless, to perform their function, these sRNAs usually need a protein cofactor called Hfq. In this work we show, by using a combination of infrared and circular dichroism spectroscopies, that Hfq, after interacting with the inner membrane, can be translocated into the periplasm, and then be exported in OMVs, with the possibility to be bound to sRNAs. Moreover, we provide evidence that Hfq interacts with and is inserted into OMV membranes, suggesting a role for this protein in the release of sRNA outside the vesicle. These findings provide clues to the mechanism of host–bacteria interactions which may not be defined solely by protein–protein and protein–outer membrane contacts, but also by the exchange of RNAs, and in particular sRNAs.