A combination of independent transcriptional regulators shapes bacterial virulence gene expression during infection

Samuel A. Shelburne, Randall J. Olsen, Bryce Suber, Pranoti Sahasrabhojane, Paul Sumby, Richard G. Brennan, James M. Musser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Transcriptional regulatory networks are fundamental to how microbes alter gene expression in response to environmental stimuli, thereby playing a critical role in bacterial pathogenesis. However, understanding how bacterial transcriptional regulatory networks function during host-pathogen interaction is limited. Recent studies in group A Streptococcus (GAS) suggested that the transcriptional regulator catabolite control protein A (CcpA) influences many of the same genes as the control of virulence (CovRS) two-component gene regulatory system. To provide new information about the CcpA and CovRS networks, we compared the CcpA and CovR transcriptomes in a serotype M1 GAS strain. The transcript levels of several of the same genes encoding virulence factors and proteins involved in basic metabolic processes were affected in both DccpA and DcovR isogenic mutant strains. Recombinant CcpA and CovR bound with high-affinity to the promoter regions of several co-regulated genes, including those encoding proteins involved in carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. Compared to the wild-type parental strain, DccpA and DcovRDccpA isogenic mutant strains were significantly less virulent in a mouse myositis model. Inactivation of CcpA and CovR alone and in combination led to significant alterations in the transcript levels of several key GAS virulence factor encoding genes during infection. Importantly, the transcript level alterations in the ΔccpA and ΔcovRΔccpA isogenic mutant strains observed during infection were distinct from those occurring during growth in laboratory medium. These data provide new knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms by which pathogenic bacteria respond to environmental signals to regulate virulence factor production and basic metabolic processes during infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1000817
JournalPLoS pathogens
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology

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