• Surface protease;
  • Stress;
  • Degradation;
  • Processing;
  • Puromycin


Staphylococcus aureus encodes two HtrA-like serine surface proteases, called HtrA1 and HtrA2. The roles of these HtrA homologs were distinguished by expression studies in a heterologous host, Lactococcus lactis, whose single extracellular protease, HtrALl, was absent. HtrALl is involved in stress resistance, and processing and/or degradation of extracellular proteins. Controlled expression of staphylococcal htrA1 and htrA2 was achieved in L. lactis strain NZ9000 ΔhtrA, as confirmed with anti-HtrA1 and anti-HtrA2 specific antibodies. HtrA1 fully restored thermo-resistance to the htrA-defective L. lactis strain, despite a poor capacity to degrade abnormal or truncated proteins. We therefore propose that activities of HtrA1 other than proteolysis may be sufficient for high-temperature growth complementation. HtrA2 is 36% identical to HtrALl, and was highly expressed in L. lactis; nevertheless, it displayed nearly no detectable activities. The poor proteolytic activities of staphylococcal HtrA proteins in L. lactis may reflect a requirement for S. aureus-specific co-factors.