In Staphylococcus aureus, the SaeRS two-component system controls the expression of multiple virulence factors. Of the two promoters in the sae operon, P1 is autoinduced and has two binding sites for the response regulator SaeR. In this study, we examined the organizational requirements of the SaeR binding sites in P1 for transcription activation. Mutational studies showed that both binding sites are essential for binding to phosphorylated SaeR (P-SaeR) and transcription activation. When the 21-bp distance between the centers of the two SaeR binding sites was altered to 26 bp, 31 bp, 36 bp, or 41 bp, only the 31-bp mutant retained approximately 40% of the original promoter activity. When the 21-bp spacing (i.e.,1-bp overlap) between the primary SaeR binding site and the-35 promoter region was altered, all mutant P1 promoters failed to initiate transcription; however, when the first nucleotide of the-35 region was changed from A to T, the mutants with 0-bp or 22-bp spacing showed detectable promoter activity. Although P-SaeR was essential for the binding of RNA polymerase to P1, it was not essential for the binding of the enzyme to the alpha-hemolysin promoter. When the nonoptimal spacing between promoter elements in P1 or the coagulase promoter was altered to the optimal spacing of 17 bp, both promoters failed to initiate transcription. These results suggest that SaeR binding sites are under rather strict organizational restrictions and provide clues for understanding the molecular mechanism of sae-mediated transcription activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology