Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 19651859
Infect. Immun. 2009 Oct;77(10):4437-45
In gram-positive bacteria, CodY is an important regulator of genes whose expression changes upon nutrient limitation and acts as a repressor of virulence gene expression in some pathogenic species. Here, we report the role of CodY in Bacillus anthracis, the etiologic agent of anthrax. Disruption of codY completely abolished virulence in a toxinogenic, noncapsulated strain, indicating that the activity of CodY is required for full virulence of B. anthracis. Global transcriptome analysis of a codY mutant and the parental strain revealed extensive differences. These differences could reflect direct control for some genes, as suggested by the presence of CodY binding sequences in their promoter regions, or indirect effects via the CodY-dependent control of other regulatory proteins or metabolic rearrangements in the codY mutant strain. The differences included reduced expression of the anthrax toxin genes in the mutant strain, which was confirmed by lacZ reporter fusions and immunoblotting. The accumulation of the global virulence regulator AtxA protein was strongly reduced in the mutant strain. However, in agreement with the microarray data, expression of atxA, as measured using an atxA-lacZ transcriptional fusion and by assaying atxA mRNA, was not significantly affected in the codY mutant. An atxA-lacZ translational fusion was also unaffected. Overexpression of atxA restored toxin component synthesis in the codY mutant strain. These results suggest that CodY controls toxin gene expression by regulating AtxA accumulation posttranslationally.