MsaB Activates Capsule Production At the Transcription Level In Staphylococcus aureus

Document Type


Publication Date



Biological Sciences


Staphylococcus aureusproduces several virulence factors that allow it to cause a variety of infections. One of the major virulence factors is the capsule, which contributes to the survival of the pathogen within the host as a way to escape phagocytosis. The production of the capsular polysaccharide is encoded in a 16 gene operon, which is regulated in response to several environmental stimuli including nutrient availability. For instance, the capsule is produced in the late- and post-exponential growth phases, but not in the early- or mid-exponential growth phase. Several regulators are involved in capsule production, but the regulation of the cap operon is still poorly understood. In this study, we show that MsaB activates the cap operon by binding directly to a 10 bp repeat in the promoter region. We show that despite the fact that MsaB is expressed throughout four growth phases, it only activates capsule production in the late- and post-exponential growth phases. Furthermore, we find that MsaB does not bind to its target site in the early and mid-exponential growth phases. This correlates with decreased nutrient availability and capsule production. These data suggest either that MsaB binding ability changes in response to nutrients or that other cap operon regulators interfere with the binding of MsaB to its target site. This study increases our understanding of the regulation of capsule production and the mechanism of action of MsaB.

Publication Title




First Page


Last Page


Find in your library