Recent murine studies have demonstrated that the role of response regulator 09 (RR09) of Streptococcus pneumoniae in virulence is different in different strains. In the present study, we used a murine pneumonia model of infection to assess the virulence of a TIGR4 rr09 mutant, and we found that TIGR4Deltarr09 was attenuated after intranasal infection. Furthermore, we investigated the in vitro transcriptional changes in pneumococcal rr09 mutants of two strains, D39 and TIGR4, by microarray analysis. The transcriptional profiles of the rr09 mutants of both strains had clear differences compared to the profiles of the parental wild-type strains. In D39Deltarr09, but not in TIGR4Deltarr09, genes involved in competence (e.g., comAB) were upregulated. In TIGR4, genes located on the rlrA pathogenicity islet, which are not present in the D39 genome, appeared to be regulated by RR09. Furthermore, several phosphotransferase systems (PTSs) believed to be involved in sugar uptake (e.g., the PTS encoded by sp0060 to sp0066) were strongly downregulated in D39Deltarr09, while they were not regulated by RR09 in TIGR4. To examine the role of one of these PTSs in virulence, D39Deltasp0063 was constructed and tested in a murine infection model. No difference between the virulence of this strain and the virulence of the wild type was found, indicating that downregulation of the sp0063 gene alone is not the cause of the avirulent phenotype of D39Deltarr09. Finally, expression of rr09 and expression of three of our identified RR09 targets during infection in mice were assessed. This in vivo experiment confirmed that there were differences between expression in wild-type strain TIGR4 and expression in the rr09 mutant, as well as differences between expression in wild-type strain D39 and expression in wild-type strain TIGR4. In conclusion, our results indicate that there is strain-specific regulation of pneumococcal gene expression by RR09.
- Bacterial Proteins
- Gene Expression Profiling
- Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
- Pneumococcal Infections
- Streptococcus pneumoniae