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Mol Microbiol. 2004 Sep;53(5):1515-27.

Synthesis of group A streptococcal virulence factors is controlled by a regulatory RNA molecule.

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Max F. Perutz Laboratories, University Departments at the Vienna Biocenter, Department of Microbiology and Genetics, University of Vienna, Dr Bohrgasse 9/4, Vienna A-1030, Austria.


The capacity of pathogens to cause disease depends strictly on the regulated expression of their virulence factors. In this study, we demonstrate that the untranslated mRNA of the recently described streptococcal pleiotropic effect locus (pel), which incidentally contains sagA, the structural gene for streptolysin S, is an effector of virulence factor expression in group A beta-haemolytic streptococci (GAS). Our data suggest that the regulation by pel RNA occurs at both transcriptional (e.g. emm, sic, nga) and post-transcriptional (e.g. SpeB) levels. We could exclude the possibility that the pel phenotype was linked to a polar effect on downstream genes (sagB-I). Remarkably, the RNA effector is regulated in a growth phase-dependent fashion and we provide evidence that pel RNA expression is induced by conditioned media.

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