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Genes 2016, 7(10), 74; doi:10.3390/genes7100074

Presence of a Prophage Determines Temperature-Dependent Capsule Production in Streptococcus pyogenes

1
Department of Biology, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN 47809, USA
2
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Science, Washington, DC 20037, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helen J. Wing
Received: 3 August 2016 / Revised: 20 September 2016 / Accepted: 21 September 2016 / Published: 24 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virulence Gene Regulation in Bacteria)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1633 KB, uploaded 24 September 2016]   |  

Abstract

A hyaluronic acid capsule is a major virulence factor in the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pyogenes. It acts as an anti-phagocytic agent and adhesin to keratinocytes. The expression of the capsule is primarily regulated at the transcriptional level by the two-component regulatory system CovRS, in which CovR acts as a transcriptional repressor. The covRS genes are frequently mutated in many invasive strains, and a subset of the invasive CovRS mutants does not produce a detectable level of the capsule at 37 °C, but produces a significant amount of the capsule at sub-body temperatures. Here, we report that a prophage has a crucial role in this capsule thermoregulation. Passaging CovR-null strains showing capsule thermoregulation using a lab medium produced spontaneous mutants producing a significant amount of the capsule regardless of incubation temperature and this phenotypic change was caused by curing of a particular prophage. The lab strain HSC5 contains three prophages on the chromosome, and only ΦHSC5.3 was cured in all spontaneous mutants. This result indicates that the prophage ΦHSC5.3 plays a crucial role in capsule thermoregulation, most likely by repressing capsule production at 37 °C. View Full-Text
Keywords: Streptococcus pyogenes; Hyaluronic acid capsule; Capsule thermoregulation; CovRS; Prophages Streptococcus pyogenes; Hyaluronic acid capsule; Capsule thermoregulation; CovRS; Prophages
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Brown, L.; Kim, J.-H.; Cho, K.H. Presence of a Prophage Determines Temperature-Dependent Capsule Production in Streptococcus pyogenes. Genes 2016, 7, 74.

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