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Med Microbiol Immunol. 1996 Nov;185(3):171-81.

What is the size of the group A streptococcal vir regulon? The Mga regulator affects expression of secreted and surface virulence factors.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology, Technical University (RWTH), Aachen, Germany.


The vir regulon of group A streptococci (GAS) organizes the expression of several bacterial virulence factors under the control of the Mga regulator. Previously, the genes encoding the Mga regulator (mga), M and M-related proteins (emm, mrp, enn) and C5a peptidase (scpA) were reported to be clustered on the streptococcal genome in a core vir regulon. In the present study, the genomic regions of a serotype M49 strain upstream of mga and downstream of scpA were sequenced to assess the boundaries of the vir regulon. In the upstream region, an operon was identified that may be potentially involved in substrate transport and is independent from Mga regulation. In the downstream region, another Mga-controlled, scpA-cotranscribed gene was detected. This gene termed orfX encoded a 385-amino acid (aa) potential surface protein of unknown function. No binding of serum proteins to a recombinant ORFX was detectable and phagocytosis resistance of an orfX mutant remained unchanged. Downstream of orfX, another Mga-independent gene determined the 3' end of the core vir regulon. Utilizing the M49 wild type, a mga- mutant and comparative Northern blot hybridization, genes encoding the capsule synthesis machinery, streptokinase and streptolysin O, as well as erythrogenic toxin A and DNase C were found to be Mga independent. In contrast, expression of the genes encoding the cysteine protease SpeB, streptococcin A and the oligopeptide permease was reduced in the mga- mutant. This indicated that in addition to the core vir regulon, Mga directly or indirectly controls a number of genes dispersed throughout the GAS genome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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