Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Cell. 2008 Oct 10;32(1):150-8. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.08.005.

RNAIII-independent target gene control by the agr quorum-sensing system: insight into the evolution of virulence regulation in Staphylococcus aureus.

Author information

  • 1Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, MT 59840, USA.


Cell-density-dependent gene regulation by quorum-sensing systems has a crucial function in bacterial physiology and pathogenesis. We demonstrate here that the Staphylococcus aureus agr quorum-sensing regulon is divided into (1) control of metabolism and PSM cytolysin genes, which occurs independently of the small regulatory RNA RNAIII, and (2) RNAIII-dependent control of additional virulence genes. Remarkably, PSM expression was regulated by direct binding of the AgrA response regulator. Our findings suggest that quorum-sensing regulation of PSMs was established before wide-ranging control of virulence was added to the agr regulon, which likely occurred by development of the RNAIII-encoding region around the gene encoding the PSM delta-toxin. Moreover, the agr regulon in the community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus MW2 considerably differed from that previously determined using laboratory strains. By establishing a two-level model of quorum-sensing target gene regulation in S. aureus, our study gives important insight into the evolution of virulence control in this leading human pathogen.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk