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A response regulator that represses transcription of several virulence operons in the group A streptococcus.
M J Federle; K S McIver; J R Scott (Profiled Author: Kevin S. McIver)
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.
Journal of bacteriology 1999;181(12):3649-57.
A search for homologs of the Bacillus subtilis PhoP response regulator in the group A streptococcus (GAS) genome revealed three good candidates. Inactivation of one of these, recently identified as csrR (J. C. Levin and M. R. Wessels, Mol. Microbiol. 30:209-219, 1998), caused the strain to produce mucoid colonies and to increase transcription of hasA, the first gene in the operon for capsule synthesis. We report here that a nonpolar insertion in this gene also increased transcription of ska (encoding streptokinase), sagA (streptolysin S), and speMF (mitogenic factor) but did not affect transcription of slo (streptolysin O), mga (multiple gene regulator of GAS), emm (M protein), scpA (complement C5a peptidase), or speB or speC (pyrogenic exotoxins B and C). The amounts of streptokinase, streptolysin S, and capsule paralleled the levels of transcription of their genes in all cases. Because CsrR represses genes unrelated to those for capsule synthesis, and because CsrA-CsrB is a global regulatory system in Escherichia coli whose mechanism is unrelated to that of these genes in GAS, the locus has been renamed covR, for "control of virulence genes" in GAS. Transcription of the covR operon was also increased in the nonpolar insertion mutant, indicating that CovR represses its own synthesis as well. All phenotypes of the covR nonpolar insertion mutant were complemented by the covR gene on a plasmid. CovR acts on operons expressed both in exponential and in stationary phase, demonstrating that the CovR-CovS pathway is separate from growth phase-dependent regulation in GAS. Therefore, CovR is the first multiple-gene repressor of virulence factors described for this important human pathogen.
1 Originating Grant
Mciver, Kevin S
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