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Infect Immun. 2013 Jan;81(1):364-72. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00703-12. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

RivR is a negative regulator of virulence factor expression in group A Streptococcus.

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1
Center for Molecular and Translational Human Infectious Diseases Research, The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, Texas, USA.

Abstract

The bacterial pathogen group A Streptococcus (GAS) causes human diseases ranging from self-limiting pharyngitis (also known as strep throat) to severely invasive necrotizing fasciitis (also known as the flesh-eating syndrome). To control virulence factor expression, GAS utilizes both protein- and RNA-based mechanisms of regulation. Here we report that the transcription factor RivR (RofA-like protein IV) negatively regulates the abundance of mRNAs encoding the hyaluronic acid capsule biosynthesis proteins (hasABC; ∼7-fold) and the protein G-related α(2)-macroglobulin-binding protein (grab; ∼29-fold). Our data differ significantly from those of a previous study of the RivR regulon. Given that grab and hasABC are also negatively regulated by the two-component system CovR/S (control of virulence), we tested whether RivR functions through CovR/S. A comparison of riv and cov single and double mutant strains showed that RivR requires CovR activity for grab and hasABC regulation. Analysis of the upstream region of rivR identified a novel promoter the deletion of which reduced rivR mRNA abundance by 70%. A rivR mutant strain had a reduced ability to adhere to human keratinocytes relative to that of the parental and complemented strains, a phenotype that was abolished upon GAS pretreatment with hyaluronidase, highlighting the importance of capsule regulation by RivR during colonization. The rivR mutant strain was also attenuated for virulence in a murine model of bacteremia infection. Thus, we identify RivR as an important regulator of GAS virulence and provide new insight into the regulatory networks controlling virulence factor production in this pathogen.

PMID:
23147037
PMCID:
PMC3536152
DOI:
10.1128/IAI.00703-12
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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