The σB-dependent yabJ-spoVG operon is involved in the regulation of extracellular nuclease, lipase, and protease expression in Staphylococcus aureus

J Bacteriol. 2011 Sep;193(18):4954-62. doi: 10.1128/JB.05362-11. Epub 2011 Jul 1.


The alternative sigma factor σ(B) of Staphylococcus aureus is involved in the coordination of the general stress response, expression of virulence determinants, and modulation of antibiotic resistance levels. It controls a large regulon, either directly by recognizing conserved σ(B) promoter sequences or indirectly via σ(B)-dependent elements. The σ(B)-controlled yabJ-spoVG operon encodes two such putative downstream elements. We report here transcriptome analysis in S. aureus Newman, showing that inactivation of the yabJ-spoVG operon had primarily a repressing effect on a small subregulon encoding mainly virulence factors, including a nuclease (nuc), a protease (splE) and a lipase (lip). As a consequence, extracellular nuclease, protease, and lipase activities were reduced in a ΔyabJ-spoVG mutant. trans-complementation by SpoVG was sufficient to restore their reduced phenotypic expression and lowered transcription due to the yabJ-spoVG deletion. It did not restore, however, the changes triggered by σ(B) inactivation, indicating that both regulons only partially overlap, despite the σ(B) dependency of the yabJ-spoVG expression. Thus, σ(B) is likely to control additional, SpoVG-independent factors affecting the expression of numerous hydrolytic enzymes. SpoVG, on the other hand, seems to fine-tune the σ(B)-dependent regulation of a subset of virulence factors by antagonizing the σ(B) effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Lipase / metabolism*
  • Micrococcal Nuclease / metabolism*
  • Operon
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Sigma Factor / genetics
  • Sigma Factor / metabolism*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / enzymology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • SigB protein, Bacteria
  • Sigma Factor
  • Lipase
  • Micrococcal Nuclease
  • Peptide Hydrolases