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J Bacteriol. 2001 Dec;183(24):7341-53.

Transcription profiling-based identification of Staphylococcus aureus genes regulated by the agr and/or sarA loci.

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Infectious Diseases, Wyeth-Ayerst Research, Pearl River, New York 10965, USA.


The advent of transcription profiling technologies has provided researchers with an unprecedented ability to study biological processes. Accordingly, a custom-made Affymetrix GeneChip, constituting >86% of the Staphylococcus aureus genome, was used to identify open reading frames that are regulated by agr and/or SarA, the two best-studied regulators of the organism's virulence response. RNA extracted from wild-type cells and agr, sarA, and agr sarA mutant cells in the early-, mid-, and late-log and stationary phases of growth was analyzed. Open reading frames with transcription patterns expected of genes either up- or downregulated in an agr- and/or SarA-dependent manner were identified. Oligonucleotide microarray and Northern blot analyses confirmed that the transcription of several known virulence genes, including hla (alpha-toxin) and spa (protein A), is regulated by each effector and provided insights about the regulatory cascades involved in both alpha-hemolysin and protein A expression. Several putative virulence factors were also identified as regulated by agr and/or SarA. In addition, genes that are involved in several biological processes but which are difficult to reconcile as playing a direct role in the organism's pathogenesis also appeared to be regulated by each effector, suggesting that products of both the agr and the sarA locus are more-global transcription regulators than previously realized.

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