Broad-host-range shuttle vectors for screening of regulated promoter activity in viridans group streptococci: isolation of a pH-regulated promoter

A. J. Vriesema, R. Brinkman, Jan Kok, J. Dankert, S. A. Zaat

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Viridans group streptococci are major constituents of the normal human oral flora and are also identified as the predominant pathogenic bacteria in native valve infective endocarditis. Little information is available regarding the regulation of gene expression in viridans group streptococci, either in response to changes in the oral environment or during development of endocarditis. We therefore constructed a set of broad-host-range vectors for the isolation of promoters from viridans group streptococci that are activated by specific environmental stimuli in vitro or in vivo. A genomic library of Streptococcus gordonii strain CH1 was constructed in one of the new vectors, and this library was introduced into a homologous bacterium by using an optimized electroporation protocol for viridans group streptococci. Because viridans group streptococci entering the bloodstream from the oral cavity encounter an increase in pH, we selected promoters upregulated by this specific stimulus. One of the selected promoter sequences showed homology to the promoter region of the hydA gene from Clostridium acetobutylicum, the expression of which is known to be regulated by the environmental pH. The isolation of this pH-regulated promoter shows that S. gordonii can sense an increase in the environmental pH, which serves as a signal for bacterial gene activation. Furthermore, this demonstrates the usefulness of these new selection vectors in research on adaptive gene expression of viridans group streptococci and possibly also of other gram-positive bacteria
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-542
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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