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Microbiology. 2004 Feb;150(Pt 2):373-81.

Role of the hprT-ftsH locus in Staphylococcus aureus.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK.


The roles of two adjacent genes in the Staphylococcus aureus chromosome with functions in starvation survival and the response to stressful conditions have been characterized. One of these, hprT, encoding a hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase homologue, was initially identified in a transposon mutagenesis screen. Mutation of hprT affects starvation survival in amino-acid-limiting conditions and the ability of S. aureus to grow in high-salt concentrations. Downstream of hprT is ftsH, which encodes a membrane-bound, ATP- and Zn(2+)-dependent 'AAA'-type protease. Mutation of ftsH in S. aureus leads to pleiotropic defects including slower growth, sensitivity to salt, acid, methyl viologen and potassium tellurite stresses, and reduced survival in amino-acid- or phosphate-limiting conditions. Both hprT-lacZ and ftsH-lacZ gene fusions are expressed maximally in the post-exponential phase of growth. Although secretion of exoproteins is not affected, an ftsH mutant is attenuated in a murine skin lesion model of pathogenicity.

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