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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Jul 15;89(14):6462-6.

Regulation of exoprotein expression in Staphylococcus aureus by a locus (sar) distinct from agr.

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Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


A single insertion of transposon Tn917LTV1 into the chromosome of a Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolate, strain DB, resulted in a pleiotropic effect on the expression of a number of extracellular and cell-wall-associated proteins. Detailed comparison of phenotypes associated with the mutant, 11D2, and the parent, DB, indicated that the chromosomal locus inactivated as a result of transposon mutagenesis differs from the S. aureus accessory gene regulator locus (agr). In particular, the expression of alpha-hemolysin, which is not detectable in Agr- mutants, was enhanced in mutant 11D2, while it remained at a low level in strain DB. Likewise, protease activity was significantly enhanced in 11D2 compared with DB. In addition, most of the cell-bound proteins were expressed at lower levels in the mutant than the parent strain. This pattern is contrary to that found in switching from Agr+ to Agr- phenotypes. Southern blot hybridization with an agr probe indicated that the inactivated chromosomal locus is distinct from agr. Transduction experiments demonstrated that the phenotypes associated with mutant 11D2 could be transferred to the parental strain DB as well as to RN450, an S. aureus strain with a genetic background similar to strain 8325-4. This locus on the S. aureus chromosome, possibly regulatory in nature, has been designated sar for staphylococcal accessory regulator.

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