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1.  The pH-Dependent Expression of the Urease Operon in Streptococcus salivarius Is Mediated by CodY 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2014;80(17):5386-5393.
Urease gene expression in Streptococcus salivarius 57.I, a strain of one of the major alkali producers in the mouth, is induced by acidic pH and excess amounts of carbohydrate. Expression is controlled primarily at the transcriptional level from a promoter, pureI. Recent sequencing analysis revealed a CodY box located 2 bases 5′ to the −35 element of pureI. Using continuous chemostat culture, transcription from pureI was shown to be repressed by CodY, and at pH 7 the repression was more pronounced than that in cells grown at pH 5.5 under both 20 and 100 mM glucose. The direct binding of CodY to pureI was demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)–quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). The result of ChIP-qPCR also confirmed that the regulation of CodY is indeed modulated by pH and the binding of CodY at neutral pH is further enhanced by a limited supply of glucose (20 mM). In the absence of CodY, the C-terminal domain of the RNA polymerase (RNAP) α subunit interacted with the AT tracks within the CodY box, indicating that CodY and RNAP compete for the same binding region. Such regulation could ensure optimal urease expression when the enzyme is most required, i.e., at an acidic growth pH with an excess amount of carbon nutrients.
PMCID: PMC4136106  PMID: 24951785
2.  Is the whole greater than the sum of its parts? De novo assembly strategies for bacterial genomes based on paired-end sequencing 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):648.
Whole genome sequence construction is becoming increasingly feasible because of advances in next generation sequencing (NGS), including increasing throughput and read length. By simply overlapping paired-end reads, we can obtain longer reads with higher accuracy, which can facilitate the assembly process. However, the influences of different library sizes and assembly methods on paired-end sequencing-based de novo assembly remain poorly understood.
We used 250 bp Illumina Miseq paired-end reads of different library sizes generated from genomic DNA from Escherichia coli DH1 and Streptococcus parasanguinis FW213 to compare the assembly results of different library sizes and assembly approaches. Our data indicate that overlapping paired-end reads can increase read accuracy but sometimes cause insertion or deletions. Regarding genome assembly, merged reads only outcompete original paired-end reads when coverage depth is low, and larger libraries tend to yield better assembly results. These results imply that distance information is the most critical factor during assembly. Our results also indicate that when depth is sufficiently high, assembly from subsets can sometimes produce better results.
In summary, this study provides systematic evaluations of de novo assembly from paired end sequencing data. Among the assembly strategies, we find that overlapping paired-end reads is not always beneficial for bacteria genome assembly and should be avoided or used with caution especially for genomes containing high fraction of repetitive sequences. Because increasing numbers of projects aim at bacteria genome sequencing, our study provides valuable suggestions for the field of genomic sequence construction.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1859-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4552406  PMID: 26315384
3.  The Expression of the fim Operon Is Crucial for the Survival of Streptococcus parasanguinis FW213 within Macrophages but Not Acid Tolerance 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66163.
The acquisition of transition metal ions is essential for the viability and in some cases the expression of virulence genes in bacteria. The fimCBA operon of Streptococcus parasanguinis FW213 encodes a Mn2+/Fe2+-specific ATP-binding cassette transporter. FimA, a lipoprotein in the system, is essential for the development of endocarditis, presumably by binding to fibrin monolayers on the damaged heart tissue. Recent sequence analysis revealed that Spaf_0344 was homologous to Streptococcus gordonii scaR, encoding a metalloregulatory protein for the Sca Mn2+-specific transporter. Based on the homology, Spaf_0344 was designated fimR. By using various fim promoter (pfim) derivatives fused with a promoterless chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene, the functions of the cis-elements of pfim were analyzed in the wild-type and fimR-deficient hosts. The result indicated that FimR represses the expression of pfim and the palindromic sequences 5′ to fimC are involved in repression of pfim. A direct interaction between FimR and the palindromic sequences was further confirmed by in vitro electrophoresis gel mobility shift assay and in vivo chromatin immunoprecipitation assay (ChIP)-quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). The result of the ChIP-qPCR analysis also indicated that FimR is activated by Mn2+ and, to a lesser degree, Fe2+. Functional analysis indicated that the expression of FimA in S. parasanguinis was critical for wild-type levels of survival against oxidative stress and within phagocytes, but not for acid tolerance. Taken together, in addition to acting as an adhesin (FimA), the expression of the fim operon is critical for the pathogenic capacity of S. parasanguinis.
PMCID: PMC3688865  PMID: 23823757
4.  Structural insight into the role of Streptococcus parasanguinis Fap1 within oral biofilm formation 
The fimbriae-associated protein 1 (Fap1) is a major adhesin of Streptococcus parasanguinis, a primary colonizer of the oral cavity that plays an important role in the formation of dental plaque. Fap1 is an extracellular adhesive surface fibre belonging to the serine-rich repeat protein (SRRP) family, which plays a central role in the pathogenesis of streptococci and staphylococci. The N-terminal adhesive region of Fap1 (Fap1-NR) is composed of two domains (Fap1-NRα and Fap1-NRβ) and is projected away from the bacterial surface via the extensive serine-rich repeat region, for adhesion to the salivary pellicle. The adhesive properties of Fap1 are modulated through a pH switch in which a reduction in pH results in a rearrangement between the Fap1-NRα and Fap1-NRβ domains, which assists in the survival of S. parasanguinis in acidic environments. We have solved the structure of Fap1-NRα at pH 5.0 to 3.0 Ǻ resolution and reveal how subtle rearrangements of the 3-helix bundle combined with a change in electrostatic potential mediates ‘opening’ and activation of the adhesive region. Further, we show that pH-dependent changes are critical for biofilm formation and present an atomic model for the inter-Fap1-NR interactions which have been assigned an important role in the biofilm formation.
PMCID: PMC3518267  PMID: 22166217
5.  FastAnnotator- an efficient transcript annotation web tool 
BMC Genomics  2012;13(Suppl 7):S9.
Recent developments in high-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies have made it feasible to sequence the complete transcriptomes of non-model organisms or metatranscriptomes from environmental samples. The challenge after generating hundreds of millions of sequences is to annotate these transcripts and classify the transcripts based on their putative functions. Because many biological scientists lack the knowledge to install Linux-based software packages or maintain databases used for transcript annotation, we developed an automatic annotation tool with an easy-to-use interface.
To elucidate the potential functions of gene transcripts, we integrated well-established annotation tools: Blast2GO, PRIAM and RPS BLAST in a web-based service, FastAnnotator, which can assign Gene Ontology (GO) terms, Enzyme Commission numbers (EC numbers) and functional domains to query sequences.
Using six transcriptome sequence datasets as examples, we demonstrated the ability of FastAnnotator to assign functional annotations. FastAnnotator annotated 88.1% and 81.3% of the transcripts from the well-studied organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and Streptococcus parasanguinis, respectively. Furthermore, FastAnnotator annotated 62.9%, 20.4%, 53.1% and 42.0% of the sequences from the transcriptomes of sweet potato, clam, amoeba, and Trichomonas vaginalis, respectively, which lack reference genomes. We demonstrated that FastAnnotator can complete the annotation process in a reasonable amount of time and is suitable for the annotation of transcriptomes from model organisms or organisms for which annotated reference genomes are not avaiable.
The sequencing process no longer represents the bottleneck in the study of genomics, and automatic annotation tools have become invaluable as the annotation procedure has become the limiting step. We present FastAnnotator, which was an automated annotation web tool designed to efficiently annotate sequences with their gene functions, enzyme functions or domains. FastAnnotator is useful in transcriptome studies and especially for those focusing on non-model organisms or metatranscriptomes. FastAnnotator does not require local installation and is freely available at
PMCID: PMC3521244  PMID: 23281853
6.  Complete Genome and Transcriptomes of Streptococcus parasanguinis FW213: Phylogenic Relations and Potential Virulence Mechanisms 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34769.
Streptococcus parasanguinis, a primary colonizer of the tooth surface, is also an opportunistic pathogen for subacute endocarditis. The complete genome of strain FW213 was determined using the traditional shotgun sequencing approach and further refined by the transcriptomes of cells in early exponential and early stationary growth phases in this study. The transcriptomes also discovered 10 transcripts encoding known hypothetical proteins, one pseudogene, five transcripts matched to the Rfam and additional 87 putative small RNAs within the intergenic regions defined by the GLIMMER analysis. The genome contains five acquired genomic islands (GIs) encoding proteins which potentially contribute to the overall pathogenic capacity and fitness of this microbe. The differential expression of the GIs and various open reading frames outside the GIs at the two growth phases suggested that FW213 possess a range of mechanisms to avoid host immune clearance, to colonize host tissues, to survive within oral biofilms and to overcome various environmental insults. Furthermore, the comparative genome analysis of five S. parasanguinis strains indicates that albeit S. parasanguinis strains are highly conserved, variations in the genome content exist. These variations may reflect differences in pathogenic potential between the strains.
PMCID: PMC3329508  PMID: 22529932
7.  Complete Genome Sequence of the Ureolytic Streptococcus salivarius Strain 57.I 
Journal of Bacteriology  2011;193(19):5596-5597.
Streptococcus salivarius 57.I is one of the most abundant and highly ureolytic bacteria in the human mouth. It can utilize urea as the sole nitrogen source via the activity of urease. Complete genome sequencing of S. salivarius 57.I revealed a chromosome and a phage which are absent in strain SK126.
PMCID: PMC3187406  PMID: 21914897
8.  New Cell Surface Protein Involved in Biofilm Formation by Streptococcus parasanguinis ▿  
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(8):3239-3248.
Dental biofilm formation is critical for maintaining the healthy microbial ecology of the oral cavity. Streptococci are predominant bacterial species in the oral cavity and play important roles in the initiation of plaque formation. In this study, we identified a new cell surface protein, BapA1, from Streptococcus parasanguinis FW213 and determined that BapA1 is critical for biofilm formation. Sequence analysis revealed that BapA1 possesses a typical cell wall-sorting signal for cell surface-anchored proteins from Gram-positive bacteria. No functional orthologue was reported in other streptococci. BapA1 possesses nine putative pilin isopeptide linker domains which are crucial for pilus assembly in a number of Gram-positive bacteria. Deletion of the 3′ portion of bapA1 generated a mutant that lacks surface-anchored BapA1 and abolishes formation of short fibrils on the cell surface. The mutant failed to form biofilms and exhibited reduced adherence to an in vitro tooth model. The BapA1 deficiency also inhibited bacterial autoaggregation. The N-terminal muramidase-released-protein-like domain mediated BapA1-BapA1 interactions, suggesting that BapA1-mediated cell-cell interactions are important for bacterial autoaggregation and biofilm formation. Furthermore, the BapA1-mediated bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation are independent of a fimbria-associated serine-rich repeat adhesin, Fap1, demonstrating that BapA1 is a new streptococcal adhesin.
PMCID: PMC3147580  PMID: 21576336
9.  Properties and Construction of Plasmid pFW213, a Shuttle Vector with the Oral Streptococcus Origin of Replication▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(12):3967-3974.
Streptococcus parasanguinis is among the most successful colonizers of the human body. Strain FW213 harbors a 7.0-kb cryptic plasmid, pFW213, with a copy number at 5 to 10 per chromosome. Sequence and functional analyses of pFW213 revealed that the open reading frame (ORF) encoding the replication protein (Rep) is essential for the replication of pFW213, and the putative plasmid addiction system (RelB and RelE) and an ORF (ORF6) with no known function are required for its stability. The minimal replicon of pFW213 contains the rep gene and its 5′-flanking 390-bp region. Within the minimal replicon, an A/T-rich region followed by 5 contiguous 22-bp repeats was located 5′ of the ATG of rep. No single-stranded replication intermediates were detected in the derivatives of pFW213, suggesting that pFW213 replicates via the theta replication mechanism. The minimal replicon was unstable in streptococcal hosts without selection, but the stability was greatly enhanced in derivatives containing the intact relBE genes. A Streptococcus-Escherichia coli shuttle vector, pCG1, was constructed with the pFW213 replicon. Plasmid pCG1 features a multiple cloning region and a spectinomycin resistance determinant that is expressed in both Streptococcus spp. and E. coli. Various streptococcal DNA fragments were cloned in pCG1, and the recombinant constructs were stably maintained in the streptococcal hosts. Since pCG1 is compatible with the most widely used streptococcal replicon, pVA380-1, pCG1 will provide a much needed tool allowing the cloning of two genes that work in concert in the same host.
PMCID: PMC3131664  PMID: 21531841
10.  Role of GlnR in Acid-Mediated Repression of Genes Encoding Proteins Involved in Glutamine and Glutamate Metabolism in Streptococcus mutans▿ †  
The acid tolerance response (ATR) is one of the major virulence traits of Streptococcus mutans. In this study, the role of GlnR in acid-mediated gene repression that affects the adaptive ATR in S. mutans was investigated. Using a whole-genome microarray and in silico analyses, we demonstrated that GlnR and the GlnR box (ATGTNAN7TNACAT) were involved in the transcriptional repression of clusters of genes encoding proteins involved in glutamine and glutamate metabolism under acidic challenge. Reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) analysis revealed that the coordinated regulation of the GlnR regulon occurred 5 min after acid treatment and that prolonged acid exposure (30 min) resulted in further reduction in expression. A lower level but consistent reduction in response to acidic pH was also observed in chemostat-grown cells, confirming the negative regulation of GlnR. The repression by GlnR through the GlnR box in response to acidic pH was further confirmed in the citBZC operon, containing genes encoding the first three enzymes in the glutamine/glutamate biosynthesis pathway. The survival rate of the GlnR-deficient mutant at pH 2.8 was more than 10-fold lower than that in the wild-type strain 45 min after acid treatment, suggesting that the GlnR regulon participates in S. mutans ATR. It is hypothesized that downregulation of the synthesis of the amino acid precursors in response to acid challenge would promote citrate metabolism to pyruvate, with the consumption of H+ and potential ATP synthesis. Such regulation will ensure an optimal acid adaption in S. mutans.
PMCID: PMC2849205  PMID: 20173059
11.  Environmental and Growth Phase Regulation of the Streptococcus gordonii Arginine Deiminase Genes ▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(16):5023-5030.
A 1,026-bp open reading frame sharing significant similarity with queA, which encodes a predicted S-adenosylmethionine:tRNA ribosyltransferase-isomerase responsible for queosine modification of tRNAs, was found immediately 5′ of the gene for the transcriptional activator (ArcR) of the arginine deiminase system (ADS) operon of Streptococcus gordonii. The role of QueA in bacterial physiology is enigmatic, but loss of QueA has been shown to compromise stationary-phase survival or virulence in certain enteric bacteria. Interestingly, S. gordonii appears to be unique among ADS-positive bacteria in the linkage of queA with the ADS genes. A putative σ70 promoter (pqueA; TTGCCA-N21-TATAAT) was mapped 5′ of queA by primer extension, and queA and arcR were shown to be cotranscribed. The expression from pqueA was found to be constitutive under all conditions tested, but the expression of parcA, which drives the expression of the arc structural genes, was enhanced in stationary phase and could be induced by low pH and arginine. QueA and CcpA acted repressively on arc transcription, but neither QueA-deficient strains nor CcpA-deficient strains showed significant differences in arginine deiminase enzyme activities compared with the wild-type strain. The growth rate of a QueA-deficient strain did not differ significantly from that of the parental strain, but the QueA-deficient strain did not compete well with the wild-type during serial passage. In addition to the finding that ADS expression can be regulated separately by growth phase and pH, a significant linkage between the ADS, translational efficiency modulated by QueA, and post-exponential-phase survival of S. gordonii was found.
PMCID: PMC2519279  PMID: 18552185
12.  cadDX Operon of Streptococcus salivarius 57.I▿  
A CadDX system that confers resistance to Cd2+ and Zn2+ was identified in Streptococcus salivarius 57.I. Unlike with other CadDX systems, the expression of the cad promoter was negatively regulated by CadX, and the repression was inducible by Cd2+ and Zn2+, similar to what was found for CadCA systems. The lower G+C content of the S. salivarius cadDX genes suggests acquisition by horizontal gene transfer.
PMCID: PMC2258612  PMID: 18165364
13.  A Hypothetical Protein of Streptococcus mutans Is Critical for Biofilm Formation  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(5):3147-3151.
Inactivation of the Smu0630 gene of Streptococcus mutans resulted in dramatic decreases in biofilm formation, regardless of the carbohydrate source. The Smu0630 protein contained numerous interesting features, including a possible signal sequence and two conserved regions of repeated sequences. Smu0630 may represent a potential target for novel therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC1087324  PMID: 15845523
14.  Galactose Metabolism by Streptococcus mutans 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2004;70(10):6047-6052.
The galK gene, encoding galactokinase of the Leloir pathway, was insertionally inactivated in Streptococcus mutans UA159. The galK knockout strain displayed only marginal growth on galactose, but growth on glucose or lactose was not affected. In strain UA159, the sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS) for lactose and the PTS for galactose were induced by growth in lactose and galactose, although galactose PTS activity was very low, suggesting that S. mutans does not have a galactose-specific PTS and that the lactose PTS may transport galactose, albeit poorly. To determine if the galactose growth defect of the galK mutant could be overcome by enhancing lactose PTS activity, the gene encoding a putative repressor of the operon for lactose PTS and phospho-β-galactosidase, lacR, was insertionally inactivated. A galK and lacR mutant still could not grow on galactose, although the strain had constitutively elevated lactose PTS activity. The glucose PTS activity of lacR mutants grown in glucose was lower than in the wild-type strain, revealing an influence of LacR or the lactose PTS on the regulation of the glucose PTS. Mutation of the lacA gene of the tagatose pathway caused impaired growth in lactose and galactose, suggesting that galactose can only be efficiently utilized when both the Leloir and tagatose pathways are functional. A mutation of the permease in the multiple sugar metabolism operon did not affect growth on galactose. Thus, the galactose permease of S. mutans is not present in the gal, lac, or msm operons.
PMCID: PMC522122  PMID: 15466549
15.  Control of Expression of the Arginine Deiminase Operon of Streptococcus gordonii by CcpA and Flp 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(8):2511-2514.
In Streptococcus gordonii DL1, inactivation of the ccpA gene and a gene encoding an Fnr-like protein (Flp) demonstrated that CcpA was essential for carbohydrate catabolite repression and that Flp was required for optimal expression and anaerobic induction of the arginine deiminase system.
PMCID: PMC412168  PMID: 15060059
16.  Characterization of the Arginine Deiminase Operon of Streptococcus rattus FA-1 
The arginine deiminase system (ADS) is of critical importance in oral biofilm pH homeostasis and microbial ecology. The ADS consists of three enzymes. Arginine is hydrolyzed by AD (ArcA) to generate citrulline and ammonia. Citrulline is then converted to ornithine and carbamoylphosphate via ornithine carbamoyltransferase (ArcB). Finally, carbamate kinase (ArcC) transfers a phosphate from carbamoylphosphate to ADP, yielding ATP. Ammonia production from this pathway protects bacteria from lethal acidification, and ATP production provides a source of energy for the cells. The purpose of this study was to initiate a characterization of the arc operon of Streptococcus rattus, the least cariogenic and sole ADS-positive member of the mutans streptococci. Using an arcB gene fragment obtained by degenerate PCRs, the FA-1 arc operon was identified in subgenomic DNA libraries and sequence analysis was performed. Results showed that the genes encoding the AD pathway in S. rattus FA-1 are organized as an arcABCDT-adiR operon gene cluster, including the enzymes of the pathway, an arginine-ornithine antiporter (ArcD) and a putative regulatory protein (AdiR). The arcA transcriptional start site was identified by primer extension, and a σ70-like promoter was mapped 5′ to arcA. Reverse transcriptase PCR was used to establish that arcABCDT could be cotranscribed. Reporter gene fusions and AD assays demonstrated that the operon is regulated by substrate induction and catabolite repression, the latter apparently through a CcpA-dependent pathway.
PMCID: PMC368411  PMID: 15006749
17.  Analysis of an Agmatine Deiminase Gene Cluster in Streptococcus mutans UA159 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(6):1902-1904.
An operon encoding enzymes of the agmatine deiminase system (AgDS) has been identified in the cariogenic bacterium Streptococcus mutans UA159. The AgDS is regulated by agmatine induction and carbohydrate catabolite repression. Ammonia is produced from agmatine at low pH, suggesting that the AgDS could augment acid tolerance.
PMCID: PMC355968  PMID: 14996823
18.  Role of Urease Enzymes in Stability of a 10-Species Oral Biofilm Consortium Cultivated in a Constant-Depth Film Fermenter 
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(12):7188-7192.
Using a 10-species oral biofilm consortium and defined mutants, we show that high-level capacity to generate ammonia from a common salivary substrate is needed to maintain community diversity. This model appears to be suitable for the study of the effects of individual genetic determinants on the ecology of oral biofilms.
PMCID: PMC308945  PMID: 14638814
19.  Identification and Characterization of the Nickel Uptake System for Urease Biogenesis in Streptococcus salivarius 57.I 
Journal of Bacteriology  2003;185(23):6773-6779.
Ureases are multisubunit enzymes requiring Ni2+ for activity. The low pH-inducible urease gene cluster in Streptococcus salivarius 57.I is organized as an operon, beginning with ureI, followed by ureABC (structural genes), and ureEFGD (accessory genes). Urease biogenesis also requires a high-affinity Ni2+ uptake system. By searching the partial genome sequence of a closely related organism, Streptococcus thermophilus LMG18311, three open reading frame (ORFs) homologous to those encoding proteins involved in cobalamin biosynthesis and cobalt transport (cbiMQO) were identified immediately 3′ to the ure operon. To determine whether these genes were involved in urease biogenesis by catalyzing Ni2+ uptake in S. salivarius, regions 3′ to ureD were amplified by PCRs from S. salivarius by using primers identical to the S. thermophilus sequences. Sequence analysis of the products revealed three ORFs. Reverse transcriptase PCR was used to demonstrate that the ORFs are transcribed as part of the ure operon. Insertional inactivation of ORF1 with a polar kanamycin marker completely abolished urease activity and the ability to accumulate 63Ni2+ during growth. Supplementation of the growth medium with NiCl2 at concentrations as low as 2.5 μM partially restored urease activity in the mutant. Both wild-type and mutant strains showed enhanced urease activity when exogenous Ni2+ was provided at neutral pH. Enhancement of urease activity by adding nickel was regulated at the posttranslational level. Thus, ORF1, ORF2, and ORF3 are part of the ure operon, and these genes, designated ureM, ureQ, and ureO, respectively, likely encode a Ni2+-specific ATP-binding cassette transporter.
PMCID: PMC262724  PMID: 14617641
20.  Characterization of Streptococcus mutans Strains Deficient in EIIABMan of the Sugar Phosphotransferase System 
The phosphoenolpyruvate:sugar phosphotransferase system (PTS) is the major sugar uptake system in oral streptococci. The role of EIIABMan (encoded by manL) in gene regulation and sugar transport was investigated in Streptococcus mutans UA159. The manL knockout strain, JAM1, grew more slowly than the wild-type strain in glucose but grew faster in mannose and did not display diauxic growth, indicating that EIIABMan is involved in sugar uptake and in carbohydrate catabolite repression. PTS assays of JAM1, and of strains lacking the inducible (fruI) and constitutive (fruCD) EII fructose, revealed that S. mutans EIIABMan transported mannose and glucose and provided evidence that there was also a mannose-inducible or glucose-repressible mannose PTS. Additionally, there appears to be a fructose PTS that is different than FruI and FruCD. To determine whether EIIABMan controlled expression of the known virulence genes, glucosyltransferases (gtfBC) and fructosyltransferase (ftf) promoter fusions of these genes were established in the wild-type and EIIABMan-deficient strains. In the manL mutant, the level of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity expressed from the gtfBC promoter was up to threefold lower than that seen with the wild-type strain at pH 6 and 7, indicating that EIIABMan is required for optimal expression of gtfBC. No significant differences were observed between the mutant and the wild-type background in ftf regulation, with the exception that under glucose-limiting conditions at pH 7, the mutant exhibited a 2.1-fold increase in ftf expression. Two-dimensional gel analysis of batch-grown cells of the EIIABMan-deficient strain indicated that the expression of at least 38 proteins was altered compared to that seen with the wild-type strain, revealing that EIIABMan has a pleiotropic effect on gene expression.
PMCID: PMC169087  PMID: 12902269
21.  Isolation and Molecular Analysis of the Gene Cluster for the Arginine Deiminase System from Streptococcus gordonii DL1 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2002;68(11):5549-5553.
The arginine deiminase (AD) system (ADS) is one of two major ammonia-generating pathways in the oral cavity that play important roles in oral biofilm pH homeostasis and oral biofilm ecology. To initiate a study of the Streptococcus gordonii ADS, the ADS gene cluster was isolated from subgenomic DNA libraries of S. gordonii DL1 by using an arcB-specific probe. Nucleotide sequence analysis revealed six open reading frames (ORFs) that were arranged contiguously; the first five ORFs were transcribed in the same direction, as an apparent operon, and the sixth was transcribed in the opposite direction. The ORFs were found to share significant homologies and to correspond closely in molecular mass to previously characterized arc genes; thus, they were designated arcA (AD), arcB (ornithine carbamyltransferase), arcC (carbamate kinase), arcD (arginine-ornithine antiporter), arcT (dipeptidase), and arcR (regulator). A putative σ70 promoter (ParcA [TTGTGT-N19-TAGAAT]) was mapped 5′ to arcA by primer extension, and the expression of ParcA was shown to be inducible by arginine and repressible by glucose, in agreement with AD specific activities measured in the wild-type strain. To investigate the function of ArcR in the differential expression of the arc operon, arcR was insertionally inactivated by a KM resistance marker flanked by T4 transcription/translation termination signals, and the expression of ParcA was monitored by primer extension in the wild-type and ArcR-deficient strains. Lower levels of arcA expression, as well as lower levels of AD activity, were consistently observed in the ArcR-deficient strain compared to wild-type cells, regardless of the growth conditions. Thus, ArcR is a transcriptional activator that is required for induction and optimal expression of the S. gordonii ADS gene cluster.
PMCID: PMC129940  PMID: 12406748
22.  Genetic and Physiologic Analysis of the groE Operon and Role of the HrcA Repressor in Stress Gene Regulation and Acid Tolerance in Streptococcus mutans 
Journal of Bacteriology  2001;183(20):6074-6084.
Our working hypothesis is that the major molecular chaperones DnaK and GroE play central roles in the ability of oral bacteria to cope with the rapid and frequent stresses encountered in oral biofilms, such as acidification and nutrient limitation. Previously, our laboratory partially characterized the dnaK operon of Streptococcus mutans (hrcA-grpE-dnaK) and demonstrated that dnaK is up-regulated in response to acid shock and sustained acidification (G. C. Jayaraman, J. E. Penders, and R. A. Burne, Mol. Microbiol. 25:329–341, 1997). Here, we show that the groESL genes of S. mutans constitute an operon that is expressed from a stress-inducible ςA-type promoter located immediately upstream of a CIRCE element. GroEL protein and mRNA levels were elevated in cells exposed to a variety of stresses, including acid shock. A nonpolar insertion into hrcA was created and used to demonstrate that HrcA negatively regulates the expression of the groEL and dnaK operons. The SM11 mutant, which had constitutively high levels of GroESL and roughly 50% of the DnaK protein found in the wild-type strain, was more sensitive to acid killing and could not lower the pH as effectively as the parent. The acid-sensitive phenotype of SM11 was, at least in part, attributable to lower F1F0-ATPase activity. A minimum of 10 proteins, in addition to GroES-EL, were found to be up-regulated in SM11. The data clearly indicate that HrcA plays a key role in the regulation of chaperone expression in S. mutans and that changes in the levels of the chaperones profoundly influence acid tolerance.
PMCID: PMC99687  PMID: 11567008
23.  Dual Functions of Streptococcus salivarius Urease 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(16):4667-4669.
A urease-deficient derivative of Streptococcus salivarius 57.I was constructed by allelic exchange at the ureC locus. The wild-type strain was protected against acid killing through hydrolysis of physiologically relevant concentrations of urea, whereas the mutant was not. Also, S. salivarius could use urea as a source of nitrogen for growth exclusively through a urease-dependent pathway.
PMCID: PMC94645  PMID: 10913107
24.  Regulation of Expression of the Fructan Hydrolase Gene of Streptococcus mutans GS-5 by Induction and Carbon Catabolite Repression 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(9):2863-2871.
The polymers of fructose, levan and inulin, as well as sucrose and raffinose, are substrates for the product of the fruA gene of Streptococcus mutans GS-5. The purpose of this study was to characterize the DNA immediately flanking fruA, to explore the regulation of expression of fruA by the carbohydrate source, and to begin to elucidate the molecular basis for differential expression of the gene. Located 3′ to fruA was an open reading frame (ORF) with similarity to β-fructosidases which was cotranscribed with fruA. A transcriptional initiation site, located an appropriate distance from an extended −10-like promoter, was mapped at 165 bp 5′ to the fruA structural gene. By the use of computer algorithms, two overlapping, stable stem-loop sequences with the potential to function as rho-independent terminators were found in the 5′ untranslated region. Catabolite response elements (CREs), which have been shown to govern carbon catabolite repression (CCR) by functioning as negative cis elements in gram-positive bacteria, were located close to the promoter. The levels of production of fruA mRNA and FruA were elevated in cells growing on levan, inulin, or sucrose as the sole carbohydrate source, and repression was observed when cells were grown on readily metabolizable hexoses. Deletion derivatives containing fusions of fruA promoter regions, lacking sequences 5′ or 3′ to the promoter, and a promoterless chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene were used (i) to demonstrate the functionality of the promoter mapped by primer extension, (ii) to demonstrate that CCR of the fru operon requires the CRE that is located 3′ to the promoter region, and (iii) to provide preliminary evidence that supports the involvement of an antitermination mechanism in fruA induction.
PMCID: PMC93730  PMID: 10217779
25.  Transcriptional Regulation of the Streptococcus salivarius 57.I Urease Operon 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(21):5769-5775.
The Streptococcus salivarius 57.I ure cluster was organized as an operon, beginning with ureI, followed by ureABC (structural genes) and ureEFGD (accessory genes). Northern analyses revealed transcripts encompassing structural genes and transcripts containing the entire operon. A ς70-like promoter could be mapped 5′ to ureI (PureI) by primer extension analysis. The intensity of the signal increased when cells were grown at an acidic pH and was further enhanced by excess carbohydrate. To determine the function(s) of two inverted repeats located 5′ to PureI, transcriptional fusions of the full-length promoter region (PureI), or a deletion derivative (PureIΔ100), and a promoterless chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene were constructed and integrated into the chromosome to generate strains PureICAT and PureIΔ100CAT, respectively. CAT specific activities of PureICAT were repressed at pH 7.0 and induced at pH 5.5 and by excess carbohydrate. In PureIΔ100CAT, CAT activity was 60-fold higher than in PureICAT at pH 7.0 and pH induction was nearly eliminated, indicating that expression was negatively regulated. Thus, it was concluded that PureI was the predominant, regulated promoter and that regulation was governed by a mechanism differing markedly from other known mechanisms for bacterial urease expression.
PMCID: PMC107641  PMID: 9791132

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