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Mol Microbiol. 2002 Mar;43(5):1161-72.

Identification of binding sites for the group A streptococcal global regulator CovR.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


The CovRS two-component system (also called CsrRS) of the group A streptococcus (GAS) acts as a global regulator, influencing the transcription of at least six virulence factors. The synthesis of the hyaluronic acid capsule, a virulence factor encoded by the hasABC operon, is negatively regulated by CovRS. We confirmed that phosphorylation of CovR increases its binding to a DNA fragment containing the hasA promoter. Using DNase I footprinting, we identified five binding sites surrounding the hasA promoter from bases -79 to +73 (where +1 is the start of transcription). One pair of thymines within each binding site appears to be necessary for CovR binding in vitro, as shown by uracil interference analysis. When each of these thymine pairs was altered by site-directed mutagenesis, CovR binding was reduced in vitro, confirming the role of each thymine pair in binding. Using a transcriptional reporter system with a single chromosomal copy of PhasA-gusA, we demonstrated the importance of each of four of these binding sites for CovR repression of the hasA promoter. Based on this information, we propose a consensus sequence for CovR binding to DNA.

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