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Microbiology. 1995 Oct;141 ( Pt 10):2529-34.

Response of the bvg regulon of Bordetella pertussis to different temperatures and short-term temperature shifts.

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Immunobiological Research Institute Siena (IRIS), Italy.


Bordetella pertussis produces a number of virulence factors whose expression is coordinately regulated by the bvgAS locus. Transcription of virulence genes is repressed by environmental factors such as low temperature (25 degrees C) and chemical stimuli. Temperature shift of bacterial cultures from 25 degrees C to 37 degrees C activates two classes of bvg-regulated virulence genes: the early genes, which are activated within 10 min, and late genes, which require 2-4 h for activation. During the interval between the activation of the early and late genes, the intracellular concentration of BvgA increases 50-fold. It has been proposed that this increased concentration may be required for the activation of the late genes. Here we have analysed the response of the bvg locus to intermediate temperature and to repeated temperature shifts. Temperature shifts of B. pertussis cultures from 22 degrees C to 28 degrees C or 35 degrees C resulted in the synthesis of low, intermediate, and high amounts of BvgA. This implied that the intracellular concentration of BvgA is temperature-dependent. We have also observed that the amount of virulence factors produced correlates with the BvgA concentration. When bacteria grown at 37 degrees C were shifted to 22 degrees C, transcription from the adenylate cyclase toxin haemolysis promoter (PAC) was repressed after 30 min, while transcription from the bvg (P1) and filamentous haemagglutinin (PFHA) promoters was repressed after 2 h. During this time, the amount of BvgA did not decrease.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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