Identification of novel staphylococcal virulence genes by in vivo expression technology

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We have applied in vivo expression technology (IVET) to the study of staphylococcal virulence. Using a promoter trap that relies on genetic recombination as a reporter of gene expression, we identified 45 staphylococcal genes that are induced during infection in a murine renal abscess model. Of these, only six were known previously; 11 others have homology to known non-staphylococcal genes. The known staphylococcal genes include agrA, part of a key locus regulating numerous virulence products, and a glycerol ester hydrolase, which may enhance staphylococcal survival in abscesses. We constructed 11 strains containing mutations in previously unknown ivi genes. Of these strains, seven were significantly attenuated in virulence compared with the wild-type parent. The mutagenized ivi genes may encode novel staphylococcal virulence factors.

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