Crystal structures of SarA, a pleiotropic regulator of virulence genes in S. aureus.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen, the potency of which can be attributed to the regulated expression of an impressive array of virulence determinants. A key pleiotropic transcriptional regulator of these virulence factors is SarA, which is encoded by the sar (staphylococcal accessory regulator) locus. SarA was characterized initially as an activator of a second virulence regulatory locus, agr, through its interaction with a series of heptad repeats (AGTTAAG) within the agr promoter. Subsequent DNA-binding studies have revealed that SarA binds readily to multiple AT-rich sequences of variable lengths. Here we describe the crystal structure of SarA and a SarA-DNA complex at resolutions of 2.50 A and 2.95 A, respectively. SarA has a fold consisting of a four-helix core region and 'inducible regions' comprising a beta-hairpin and a carboxy-terminal loop. On binding DNA, the inducible regions undergo marked conformational changes, becoming part of extended and distorted alpha-helices, which encase the DNA. SarA recognizes an AT-rich site in which the DNA is highly overwound and adopts a D-DNA-like conformation by indirect readout. These structures thus provide insight into SarA-mediated transcription regulation.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Schumacher, MA; Hurlburt, BK; Brennan, RG

Published Date

  • January 11, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 409 / 6817

Start / End Page

  • 215 - 219

PubMed ID

  • 11196648

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-0836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/35051623


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England