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A vir-repressed gene of Bordetella pertussis is required for virulence.

ABSTRACT: Coordinate regulation of gene expression in Bordetella pertussis is controlled by the products of the vir locus, BvgA and BvgS. In the presence of modulating signals such as MgSO4 and nicotinic acid, expression of vir-activated genes (vag) is reduced, while expression of vir-repressed genes (vrg) is maximal. We have cloned one of these vir-repressed genes, vrg-6, in Escherichia coli. DNA sequencing has shown that vrg-6 is contained on a single EcoRI restriction endonuclease fragment and is predicted to code for a protein of 105 amino acids with a molecular weight of 11,441. The predicted protein product appears to have two domains, one consisting of seven hydrophobic proline-rich pentameric repeats and the other consisting of five alkaline trimeric repeats. Southern blot analysis has revealed vrg-6-homologous sequences in the chromosomes of Bordetella bronchiseptica and Bordetella parapertussis, but, unlike Bordetella pertussis, these species do not express vrg-6-homologous RNA when grown under modulating conditions. In order to assess the role of vrg gene products in B. pertussis pathogenesis, two 18323 derivatives which harbor TnphoA insertions in vrg genes were analyzed in a mouse model of respiratory infection. Strain SK6, which carries a vrg-6::TnphoA mutation, failed to induce lymphocytosis and was significantly less able to colonize lungs and trachea than its parent strain 18323 or than SK18, which harbors a TnphoA fusion in the vrg-18 locus. This is the first evidence that a vir-repressed gene may play an important role in the virulence of B. pertussis and the pathogenesis of whooping cough.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC257666 | BioStudies | 1992-01-01T00:00:00Z


REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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