Regulation of virulence determinants in Staphylococcus aureus

Int J Med Microbiol. 2001 May;291(2):159-70. doi: 10.1078/1438-4221-00112.


The pathogenicity of Staphylococcus aureus depends on the combined action of more than 40 different extracellular toxins, enzymes and cell surface proteins. A global regulator agr controls the production of many of these virulence factors by a regulating RNA molecule, RNAIII. Most of the virulence genes regulated by RNAIII are also regulated by SarA and a family of homologous proteins. The Sar proteins appear to repress transcription of individual virulence genes or sets of genes. As some Sar proteins also repress one or more sar homologous genes an increased production of a single Sar protein can result in decreased expression of some virulence genes, and an increased expression of others. Results are presented suggesting that RNAIII might function as an antirepressor, binding one or more of the Sar proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • RNA, Antisense / genetics*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Virulence / genetics


  • RNA, Antisense