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J Bacteriol. 1991 Apr;173(8):2617-24.

Mry, a trans-acting positive regulator of the M protein gene of Streptococcus pyogenes with similarity to the receptor proteins of two-component regulatory systems.

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  • 1Microbiology and Immunology Department, Emory University Health Sciences Center, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


In the Streptococcus pyogenes M6 strain D471, an insertion of the conjugative transposon Tn916 into a region 2 kb upstream of the promoter of emm6 (the structural gene for the M protein) rendered the strain M negative (M. G. Caparon and J. R. Scott, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84:8677-8681, 1987). In the present work, we show that this insertion mutation, mry-1, is 244 bp upstream of an open reading frame encoding a protein we call Mry. This protein is visible on a gel after transcription and translation in vitro. We have developed a technique for complementation analysis in S. pyogenes and have used it to show that the wild-type mry gene is dominant to two mutant alleles. This dominance indicates that Mry acts in trans as a positive regulator of the emm6 gene. The translated DNA sequence of mry has two regions of similarity to the motif common to the receptor protein of two-component regulatory systems. In addition, the N terminus of Mry has two regions resembling a helix-turn-helix motif. Mry does not appear to be a global regulator of virulence determinants in the group A streptococcus because there is no effect of the mry-1 mutation on production of the hyaluronic acid capsule or streptokinase.

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