Analysis of transcription of the Staphylococcus aureus aerobic class Ib and anaerobic class III ribonucleotide reductase genes in response to oxygen

Journal of Bacteriology
Mahmud MasalhaGerald Cohen

Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is a gram-positive facultative aerobe that can grow in the absence of oxygen by fermentation or by using an alternative electron acceptor. To investigate the mechanism by which S. aureus is able to adapt to changes in oxygen concentration, we analyzed the transcriptional regulation of genes that encode the aerobic class Ib and anaerobic class III ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) systems that are responsible for the synthesis of deoxyribonucleotides needed for DNA synthesis. The S. aureus class Ib RNR nrdIEF and class III RNR nrdDG genes and their regulatory regions were cloned and sequenced. Inactivation of the nrdDG genes showed that the class III RNR is essential for anaerobic growth. Inhibition of aerobic growth by hydroxyurea showed that the class Ib RNR is an oxygen-dependent enzyme. Northern blot analysis and primer extension analysis demonstrated that transcription of class III nrdDG genes is regulated by oxygen concentration and was at least 10-fold higher under anaerobic than under aerobic conditions. In contrast, no significant effect of oxygen concentration was found on the transcription of class Ib nrdIEF genes. Disruption or deletion of S. aureus nrdDG genes caused up to a fivefold increase in n...Continue Reading

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