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J Bacteriol. 2004 Apr;186(8):2449-56.

The teicoplanin-associated locus regulator (TcaR) and the intercellular adhesin locus regulator (IcaR) are transcriptional inhibitors of the ica locus in Staphylococcus aureus.

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  • 1Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. kjefferson@rics.bwh.harvard.edu

Abstract

Infections involving Staphylococcus aureus are often more severe and difficult to treat when the organism assumes a biofilm mode of growth. The polysaccharide poly-N-acetylglucosamine (PNAG), also known as polysaccharide intercellular adhesin, is synthesized by the products of the intercellular adhesin (ica) locus and plays a key role in biofilm formation. Numerous conditions and exogenous factors influence ica transcription and PNAG synthesis, but the regulatory factors and pathways through which these environmental stimuli act have been only partially characterized. We developed a DNA affinity chromatography system to purify potential regulatory proteins that bind to the ica promoter region. Using this technique, we isolated four proteins, including the staphylococcal gene regulator SarA, a MarR family transcriptional regulator of the teicoplanin-associated locus TcaR, DNA-binding protein II, and topoisomerase IV, that bound to the ica promoter. Site-directed deletion mutagenesis of tcaR indicated that TcaR was a negative regulator of ica transcription, but deletion of tcaR alone did not induce any changes in PNAG production or in adherence to polystyrene. We also investigated the role of IcaR, encoded within the ica locus but divergently transcribed from the biosynthetic genes. As has been shown previously in Staphylococcus epidermidis, we found that IcaR was also a negative regulator of ica transcription in S. aureus. We also demonstrate that mutation of icaR augmented PNAG production and adherence to polystyrene. Transcription of the ica locus, PNAG production, and adherence to polystyrene were further increased in a tcaR icaR double mutant. In summary, TcaR appeared to be a weak negative regulator of transcription of the ica locus, whereas IcaR was a strong negative regulator, and in their absence PNAG production and biofilm formation were enhanced.

PMID:
15060048
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC412131
Free PMC Article
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