Rgg coordinates virulence factor synthesis and metabolism in Streptococcus pyogenes

Michael S. Chaussee, Greg A. Somerville, Larry Reitzer, James M. Musser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Streptococcus pyogenes is a human-specific pathogen that relies on its host for metabolic substrates. Rgg-like proteins constitute a family of transcriptional regulators present in several gram-positive bacteria. In S. pyogenes, Rgg influences the expression of several virulence-associated proteins localized to the cell wall and extracellular environment. Secreted enzymes may degrade host macromolecules, thereby liberating metabolic substrates. To determine if Rgg regulation of exoprotein expression is associated with altered metabolism, the catabolic activities of S. pyogenes strain NZ131 (serotype M49) and an isogenic rgg mutant strain were analyzed during growth with complex and defined media. As expected, the wild-type strain preferentially used glucose and produced lactic acid during the exponential phase of growth. In contrast, the rgg mutant fermented arginine in the exponential phase of growth, even in the presence of glucose. Arginine degradation was associated with a neutral culture pH and excretion of NH 3 and ornithine. Arginine, serine, and asparagine were depleted from mutant cultures during growth. The addition of arginine and serine to culture media increased the growth yield and NH3 production of mutant but not wild-type cultures. Addition of asparagine had no effect on the growth yield of either strain. Altered metabolism of arginine and serine in the mutant was associated with increased transcript levels of genes encoding arginine deiminase and a putative serine dehydratase. Thus, Rgg coordinates virulence factor synthesis and catabolic activity and may be important in the pathogen's adaptation to changes in the availability of metabolic substrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6016-6024
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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