RscA, a member of the MDR1 family of transporters, is repressed by CovR and required for growth of Streptococcus pyogenes under heat stress.
ABSTRACT: The ability of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus [GAS]) to respond to changes in environmental conditions is essential for this gram-positive organism to successfully cause disease in its human host. The two-component system CovRS controls expression of about 15% of the GAS genome either directly or indirectly. In most operons studied, CovR acts as a repressor. We previously linked CovRS to the GAS stress response by showing that the sensor kinase CovS is required to inactivate the response regulator CovR so that GAS can grow under conditions of heat, acid, and salt stress. Here, we sought to identify CovR-repressed genes that are required for growth under stress. To do this, global transcription profiles were analyzed by microarrays following exposure to increased temperature (40 degrees C) and decreased pH (pH 6.0). The CovR regulon in an M type 6 strain of GAS was also examined by global transcriptional analysis. We identified a gene, rscA (regulated by stress and Cov), whose transcription was confirmed to be repressed by CovR and activated by heat and acid. RscA is a member of the MDR1 family of ABC transporters, and we found that it is required for growth of GAS at 40 degrees C but not at pH 6.0. Thus, for GAS to grow at 40 degrees C, CovR repression must be alleviated so that rscA can be transcribed to allow the production of this potential exporter. Possible explanations for the thermoprotective role of RscA in this pathogen are discussed.
Project description:The gram-positive human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus [GAS]) causes diseases ranging from mild and often self-limiting infections of the skin or throat to invasive and life-threatening illnesses. To cause such diverse types of disease, the GAS must be able to sense adverse environments and regulate its gene expression accordingly. The CovR/S two-component signal transduction regulatory system in GAS represses about 15% of the GAS genome, including many genes involved in virulence, in response to the environment. We report that CovR is still able to repress transcription from several promoters in the absence of the putative histidine kinase sensor for this system, CovS. We also show that a phosphorylation site mutant (D53A) of CovR is unable to repress gene expression. In addition, we report that a strain with a nonpolar mutation in CovS does not grow at a low pH, elevated temperature, or high osmolarity. The stress-related phenotypes of the CovS mutant were complemented by expression of covS from a plasmid. Selection for growth of a CovS mutant under stress conditions resulted in isolation of second-site mutations that inactivated covR, indicating that CovR and CovS act in the same pathway. Also, at 40 degrees C in the wild-type strain, CovR appeared to be less active on the promoter tested, which is consistent with the hypothesis that it was partially inactivated by CovS. We suggest that under mild stress conditions, CovS inactivates CovR, either directly or indirectly, and that this inactivation relieves repression of many GAS genes, including the genes needed for growth of GAS under stress conditions and some genes that are necessary for virulence. Growth of many gram-positive bacteria under multiple-stress conditions requires alteration of promoter recognition produced by RNA polymerase association with the general stress response sigma factor, sigma(B). We provide evidence that for GAS, which lacks a sigB ortholog, growth under stress conditions requires the CovR/S two-component regulatory system instead. This two-component system in GAS thus appears to perform a function for which other gram-positive bacteria utilize an alternative sigma factor.
Project description:The control of virulence regulator/sensor kinase (CovRS) two-component system is critical to the infectivity of group A streptococcus (GAS), and CovRS inactivating mutations are frequently observed in GAS strains causing severe human infections. CovS modulates the phosphorylation status and with it the regulatory effect of its cognate regulator CovR via its kinase and phosphatase activity. However, the contribution of each aspect of CovS function to GAS pathogenesis is unknown. We created isoallelic GAS strains that differ only by defined mutations which either abrogate CovR phosphorylation, CovS kinase or CovS phosphatase activity in order to test the contribution of CovR phosphorylation levels to GAS virulence, emergence of hypervirulent CovS-inactivated strains during infection, and GAS global gene expression. These sets of strains were created in both serotype M1 and M3 backgrounds, two prevalent GAS disease-causing serotypes, to ascertain whether our observations were serotype-specific. In both serotypes, GAS strains lacking CovS phosphatase activity (CovS-T284A) were profoundly impaired in their ability to cause skin infection or colonize the oropharynx in mice and to survive neutrophil killing in human blood. Further, response to the human cathelicidin LL-37 was abrogated. Hypervirulent GAS isolates harboring inactivating CovRS mutations were not recovered from mice infected with M1 strain M1-CovS-T284A and only sparsely recovered from mice infected with M3 strain M3-CovS-T284A late in the infection course. Consistent with our virulence data, transcriptome analyses revealed increased repression of a broad array of virulence genes in the CovS phosphatase deficient strains, including the genes encoding the key anti-phagocytic M protein and its positive regulator Mga, which are not typically part of the CovRS transcriptome. Taken together, these data establish a key role for CovS phosphatase activity in GAS pathogenesis and suggest that CovS phosphatase activity could be a promising therapeutic target in GAS without promoting emergence of hypervirulent CovS-inactivated strains.
Project description:We sought to determine how CovRS mutations varying CovR phosphorylation levels affect the gene expression profile of group A streptococcus Overall design: There were 8 strains analyzed, each in quadruplicate replicates: 1) wild-type GAS serotype M1; 2) covS-E281A GAS serotype M1; 3) covS-T284A GAS serotype M1 4) covR-D53A GAS serotypep M1; 5) wild-type GAS serotype M3; 6) covS-E281A GAS serotype M3; 7.) covS-T284A GAS serotype M1; 8.) covR-D53A GAS serotypep M3
Project description:The important human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes (the group A streptococcus or GAS) produces many virulence factors that are regulated by the two-component signal transduction system CovRS (CsrRS). Dissemination of GAS infection originating at the skin has been shown to require production of streptokinase, whose transcription is repressed by CovR. In this work we have studied the interaction of CovR and phosphorylated CovR (CovR-P) with the promoter for streptokinase, Pska. We found that, in contrast to the other CovR-repressed promoters, Pska regulation by CovR occurs through binding at a single ATTARA consensus binding sequence (CB) that overlap