MsaB and CodY Interact to Regulate Staphylococcus aureus Capsule in a Nutrient-Dependent Manner

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Biological Sciences


Staphylococcus aureus has a complex regulatory network for controlling the production of capsule polysaccharide. In S. aureus, capsule production is controlled by several regulators in response to various environmental stimuli. Previously, we described MsaB as a new regulator that specifically binds to the cap promoter in a growth-phase or nutrient-dependent manner. In addition to MsaB, several other regulators have also been shown to bind the same region. In this study, we examined the interactions between MsaB and other nutrient-sensing regulators (CodY and CcpE) with respect to binding to the cap promoter in a nutrient-dependent manner. We observed that msaABCR and ccpE interact in a complex fashion to regulate capsule production. However, we confirmed that ccpE does not bind cap directly. We also defined the regulatory relationship between msaABCR and CodY. When nutrients (branched chain amino acids) are abundant, CodY binds to the promoter region of the cap operon and represses its transcription. However, when nutrient concentrations decrease, MsaB, rather than CodY, binds to the cap promoter. Binding of MsaB to the cap promoter activates transcription of the cap operon. We hypothesize that this same mechanism may be used by S. aureus to regulate other virulence factors.

Publication Title

Journal of Bacteriology

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