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Analysis of bvgR Expression in Bordetella pertussis

By Tod J. Merkel, Philip E. Boucher, Scott Stibitz and Vanessa K. Grippe


Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of whooping cough, produces a wide array of factors that are associated with its ability to cause disease. The expression and regulation of these virulence factors are dependent upon the bvg locus, which encodes three proteins: BvgA, a 23-kDa cytoplasmic protein; BvgS, a 135-kDa transmembrane protein; and BvgR, a 32-kDa protein. It is hypothesized that BvgS responds to environmental signals and interacts with BvgA, a transcriptional regulator, which upon modification by BvgS binds to specific promoters and activates transcription. An additional class of genes is repressed by the products of the bvg locus. The repression of these genes is dependent upon the third gene, bvgR. Expression of bvgR is dependent upon the function of BvgA and BvgS. This led to the hypothesis that the binding of phosphorylated BvgA to the bvgR promoter activates the expression of bvgR. We undertook an analysis of the transcriptional activation of bvgR expression. We identified the bvgR transcript by Northern blot analysis and identified the start site of transcription by primer extension. We determined that transcriptional activation of the bvgR promoter in an in vitro transcription system requires the addition of phosphorylated BvgA. Additionally, we have identified cis-acting regions that are required for BvgA activation of the bvgR promoter by in vitro footprinting and in vivo deletion and linker scanning analyses. A model of BvgA binding to the bvgR promoter is presented

Topics: Genetics and Molecular Biology
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
Year: 2003
DOI identifier: 10.1128/JB.185.23.6902-6912.2003
OAI identifier:
Provided by: PubMed Central
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