plcR papR-independent expression of anthrolysin O by Bacillus anthracis.J Bacteriol. 2006 Nov; 188(22):7823-9.JB
Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) are secreted, pore-forming toxins that are associated with pathogenesis in a variety of gram-positive bacteria. Bacillus anthracis produces anthrolysin O (ALO), a CDC that is largely responsible for the hemolytic activity of culture supernates when the bacterium is cultured in appropriate conditions. B. cereus and B. thuringiensis, species closely related to B. anthracis, produce CDCs with significant amino acid sequence homology to ALO. Transcription of the B. cereus and B. thuringiensis CDC genes is controlled by PlcR, a transcription regulator that requires a pentapeptide derived from the papR gene product for binding to a consensus sequence (PlcR box) and transcriptional activation of downstream genes. A PlcR box precedes the B. anthracis alo gene, and the B. anthracis genome contains three plcR-like genes, one of which harbors a nonsense mutation that is predicted to result in a truncated, nonfunctional protein. We detected mRNA of alo, papR, and the three plcR-like genes in spleens of B. anthracis-infected mice, indicating gene expression in vivo. Analysis of alo transcription in batch culture revealed a potential transcription start located between the PlcR box and the translational start. Nevertheless, steady-state levels of alo transcripts and ALO protein were unaffected by deletion of papR or disruption of the PlcR box. Our data indicate that despite the presence of the transcriptionally active plcR and papR genes in B. anthracis and a PlcR box in the promoter region of the alo gene, alo expression is independent of this control system.