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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2008;40(3):355-61. Epub 2007 Nov 13.

The SarA protein family of Staphylococcus aureus.

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


Staphylococcus aureus is widely appreciated as an opportunistic pathogen, primarily in hospital-related infections. However, recent reports indicate that S. aureus infections can now occur in other wise healthy individuals in the community setting. The success of this organism can be attributed to the large array of regulatory proteins, including the SarA protein family, used to respond to changing microenvironments. Sequence alignment and structural data reveal that the SarA protein family can be divided into three subfamilies: (1) single domain proteins; (2) double domain proteins; (3) MarR homologs. Structural studies have also demonstrated that SarA, SarR, SarS, MgrA and thus possibly all members of this protein family are winged helix proteins with minor variations. Mutagenesis studies of SarA disclose that the winged helix motifs are important for DNA binding and function. Recent progress concerning the functions and plausible mechanisms of regulation of SarA and its homologs are discussed.

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