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Can J Microbiol. 2004 May;50(5):351-60.

Influences of sigmaB and agr on expression of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (seb) in Staphylococcus aureus.

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Department of Microbiology, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


In Staphylococcus aureus, enterotoxin B (SEB) is a superantigen that activates host interleukins and induces adverse responses, ranging from food poisoning to toxic shock. The alternate sigma factor, sigmaB (SigmaB), and agr are two known regulators of S. aureus. Northern blots of strain COL, a sigB-positive strain, showed an inverse correlation between sigmaB expression and seb message. seb expression was also measured as a function of a seb promoter linked to green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression in RN6390, COL, and Newman. In sigB mutants of RN6390, SH1000, COL, and Newman, seb promoter activities, as measured by GFP expression, increased relative to the respective parental types but at differing levels, suggesting alternate strain-specific regulation. In agr mutants of RN6390 and Newman, seb promoter activities were intermediate between the high level seen for the sigB mutant and the low level in the sigB active strains. A sigB agr double mutant of RN6390 displayed lower GFP expression than the agr mutant. These results suggest that while sigmaB and agr regulate seb expression in a divergent manner, other activator(s) of seb that depend on sigB expression may be present in S. aureus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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