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J Biol Chem. 2008 Jan 25;283(4):2176-84. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Phosphodiesterase activity of CvfA is required for virulence in Staphylococcus aureus.

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  • 1Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo, 3-1, 7-chome, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


We previously identified the cvfA gene (SA1129) as a novel virulence regulator in Staphylococcus aureus using the silkworm infection model. The cvfA gene, which is conserved among various pathogenic bacteria, contributes to the expression of the agr locus, a global virulence regulator that controls the expression of genes encoding various exoproteins, such as hemolysin. CvfA protein has a transmembrane domain, an RNA binding domain (KH domain), and a metal-dependent phosphohydrolase domain (HD domain). We report here the purification of recombinant CvfA protein from a membrane fraction of Escherichia coli by measuring its phosphodiesterase activity. Purified CvfA protein hydrolyzed the phosphodiester linkage of 2',3'-cyclic AMP, 2',3'-cyclic GMP, and 2',3'-cyclic phosphate at the 3'-terminal of RNA in the presence of Mn(2+). CvfA mutant proteins with amino acid substitutions in the HD domain had significantly decreased phosphodiesterase activity. Furthermore, mutated cvfA genes encoding proteins with low phosphodiesterase activity did not complement the decreased hemolysin production or the attenuated killing ability against silkworms in the cvfA deletion mutant. These results suggest that the phosphodiesterase activity of CvfA protein is required for virulence in S. aureus.

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