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J Bacteriol. 2006 Aug;188(16):5783-96.

Global regulatory impact of ClpP protease of Staphylococcus aureus on regulons involved in virulence, oxidative stress response, autolysis, and DNA repair.

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  • 1Institut für Molekulare Infektionsbiologie, Röntgenring 11, D-97070 Würzburg, Germany.


Staphylococcus aureus is an important pathogen, causing a wide range of infections including sepsis, wound infections, pneumonia, and catheter-related infections. In several pathogens ClpP proteases were identified by in vivo expression technologies to be important for virulence. Clp proteolytic complexes are responsible for adaptation to multiple stresses by degrading accumulated and misfolded proteins. In this report clpP, encoding the proteolytic subunit of the ATP-dependent Clp protease, was deleted, and gene expression of DeltaclpP was determined by global transcriptional analysis using DNA-microarray technology. The transcriptional profile reveals a strong regulatory impact of ClpP on the expression of genes encoding proteins that are involved in the pathogenicity of S. aureus and adaptation of the pathogen to several stresses. Expression of the agr system and agr-dependent extracellular virulence factors was diminished. Moreover, the loss of clpP leads to a complete transcriptional derepression of genes of the CtsR- and HrcA-controlled heat shock regulon and a partial derepression of genes involved in oxidative stress response, metal homeostasis, and SOS DNA repair controlled by PerR, Fur, MntR, and LexA. The levels of transcription of genes encoding proteins involved in adaptation to anaerobic conditions potentially regulated by an Fnr-like regulator were decreased. Furthermore, the expression of genes whose products are involved in autolysis was deregulated, leading to enhanced autolysis in the mutant. Our results indicate a strong impact of ClpP proteolytic activity on virulence, stress response, and physiology in S. aureus.

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