Global differential gene expression in response to growth temperature alteration in group A Streptococcus

L. M. Smoot, J. C. Smoot, M. R. Graham, G. A. Somerville, D. E. Sturdevant, C. A. Lux Migliaccio, G. L. Sylva, J. M. Musser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


Pathogens are exposed to different temperatures during an infection cycle and must regulate gene expression accordingly. However, the extent to which virulent bacteria alter gene expression in response to temperatures encountered in the host is unknown. Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a human-specific pathogen that is responsible for illnesses ranging from superficial skin infections and pharyngitis to severe invasive infections such as necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. GAS survives and multiplies at different temperatures during human infection. DNA microarray analysis was used to investigate the influence of temperature on global gene expression in a serotype M1 strain grown to exponential phase at 29°C and 37°C. Approximately 9% of genes were differentially expressed by at least 1.5-fold at 29°C relative to 37°C, including genes encoding transporter proteins, proteins involved in iron homeostasis, transcriptional regulators, phage-associated proteins, and proteins with no known homologue. Relatively few known virulence genes were differentially expressed at this threshold. However, transcription of 28 genes encoding proteins with predicted secretion signal sequences was altered, indicating that growth temperature substantially influences the extracellular proteome. TaqMan real-time reverse transcription-PCR assays confirmed the microarray data. We also discovered that transcription of genes encoding hemolysins, and proteins with inferred roles in iron regulation, transport, and homeostasis, was influenced by growth at 40°C. Thus, GAS profoundly alters gene expression in response to temperature. The data delineate the spectrum of temperature-regulated gene expression in an important human pathogen and provide many unforeseen lines of pathogenesis investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10416-10421
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 28 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Iron
  • Microarray
  • Real-time Taqman reverse transcription-PCR
  • Temperature regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Global differential gene expression in response to growth temperature alteration in group A Streptococcus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this