The Group A Streptococcus (GAS) has the ability to survive in many host tissues. It is important to have a better understanding of the mechanisms by which this pathogen can adapt and persist at the different sites within the host. The GAS cell utilizes many regulatory pathways in order to sense the host environment;one such pathway is the Mga virulence regulon. In this application, we hope to identify the role Mga plays as a virulence regulator as well as its role in cellular physiology through biochemical and genetic studies. The strain 5448-AN, whose genome sequence is available to us, will be used as a representative of the invasive and globally disseminated M1T1 GAS clone. In order to identify genes that are important for Mga regulation, we will use a Pmga-gusA reporter allele within the M1T1 5448- AN genome. This strain will be subjected to saturating transposon mutagenesis in order to create a mutant library using a newly developed mariner-based transposon (OSKAR), which has been optimized for efficient random mutagenesis within GAS. By identifying genes required for Mga regulation, we can begin to assemble the direct and indirect interactions of genes on the transcription of mga. We will also use the innovative genomic methodology of deep sequencing of transposon mutants (Tn-seq) in order to identify genetic interactions of the mga gene. This will provide us with a better understanding of how the Mga virulence regulator contributes to both pathogenesis and cellular physiology. This will be accomplished by using OSKAR, to create saturated mutant libraries in both wild type and mga 5448-AN backgrounds. We will determine the fitness of genes that are utilized for growth in rich medium (THY). In order to better characterize our findings, a selected number of genes shown to be involved in interacting with mga will be chosen for further analysis to identify their role in GAS virulence. The overarching goal of the work proposed in this fellowship is to define the full extent of the Mga regulatory network and how it links virulence and different aspects of cell physiology in the clinically relevant M1T1 GAS using global genetic analyses. The successful completion of these studies will help to resolve the complexity and interactions between regulatory networks important for GAS pathogenesis.

Public Health Relevance

GAS is a Gram-positive obligate human pathogen responsible for causing a broad spectrum of diseases including benign infections (pharyngitis, impetigo), to invasive diseases (necrotizing fasciitis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome), as well as post immune sequelae (glomerulonephritis and acute rheumatic fever). It is important to have a better understanding of the mechanisms by which this pathogen can adapt and persist at different host tissues. This application focuses on resolving the complexity behind the Mga regulatory networks associated with GAS pathogenesis.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Predoctoral Individual National Research Service Award (F31)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Adger-Johnson, Diane S
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University of Maryland College Park
Anatomy/Cell Biology
Earth Sciences/Resources
College Park
United States
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Valdes, Kayla M; Sundar, Ganesh S; Belew, Ashton T et al. (2018) Glucose Levels Alter the Mga Virulence Regulon in the Group A Streptococcus. Sci Rep 8:4971
Valdes, Kayla M; Sundar, Ganesh S; Vega, Luis A et al. (2016) The fruRBA Operon Is Necessary for Group A Streptococcal Growth in Fructose and for Resistance to Neutrophil Killing during Growth in Whole Human Blood. Infect Immun 84:1016-1031
Le Breton, Yoann; Belew, Ashton T; Valdes, Kayla M et al. (2015) Essential Genes in the Core Genome of the Human Pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes. Sci Rep 5:9838
Le Breton, Yoann; Mistry, Pragnesh; Valdes, Kayla M et al. (2013) Genome-wide identification of genes required for fitness of group A Streptococcus in human blood. Infect Immun 81:862-75