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Mol Microbiol. 1992 Aug;6(16):2253-65.

Surface protein-CAT reporter fusions demonstrate differential gene expression in the vir regulon of Streptococcus pyogenes.

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Institut fur Medische Mikrobiologie, Klinikum RWTH, Aachen, Germany.


Streptococcus pyogenes expresses at least two virulence factors, the anti-phagocytic M protein and an inhibitor of chemotaxis, the C5a peptidase (ScpA), under control of the virR locus. To facilitate studies of this regulatory unit, we constructed a new shuttle vector with a staphylococcal chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) reporter box which replicates in S. pyogenes. We cloned polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-derived potential promoter regions of the virR, M protein (emm12), and ScpA (scpA) genes from an M type 12 S. pyogenes, strain CS24. Promoter activity was assessed by measurements of specific mRNAs, transacetylase activity, and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) for chloramphenicol resistance. We demonstrated that VirR is a necessary but not always sufficient positive trans-acting regulator of emm12 and scpA expression; however, virR is not autoregulated. A potential virR-binding consensus sequence is postulated for emm12, scpA and other M-like protein genes. Promoter activity of the structural genes was found to be dramatically influenced by growth conditions such as anaerobiosis. Levels of control, over and above the requirement for virR, are realized. The virR and scpA promoters were mapped for the first time using primer extension analysis. The observed mRNA start sites did not completely agree within the sequence predicted start sites. Data suggest that scpA could be subject to transcription attenuation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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