A new oxidative sensing and regulation pathway mediated by the MgrA homologue SarZ in Staphylococcus aureus


*E-mail chuanhe@uchicago.edu; Tel. (+1) 773 7025061; Fax (+1) 773 7020805.


Oxidative stress serves as an important host/environmental signal that triggers a wide range of responses from the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Among these, a thiol-based oxidation sensing pathway through a global regulator MgrA controls the virulence and antibiotic resistance of the bacterium. Herein, we report a new thiol-based oxidation sensing and regulation system that is mediated through a parallel global regulator SarZ. SarZ is a functional homologue of MgrA and is shown to affect the expression of ∼87 genes in S. aureus. It uses a key Cys residue, Cys-13, to sense oxidative stress and to co-ordinate the expression of genes involved in metabolic switching, antibiotic resistance, peroxide stress defence, virulence, and cell wall properties. The discovery of this SarZ-mediated regulation, mostly independent from the MgrA-based regulation, fills a missing gap of oxidation sensing and response in S. aureus.