Identification of novel VirR/VirS-regulated genes in Clostridium perfringens
Novel genes that are regulated in Clostridium perfringens by the two-component regulatory system, VirR/VirS, were identified using a differential display method. A plasmid library was constructed from C. perfringens chromosomal DNA, and the plasmids were hybridized with cDNA probes prepared from total RNA of wild-type strain 13 and its virR mutant derivative TS133. Three clones were identified that carry newly identified VirR/VirS-regulated genes, two of which were positively regulated and one of which was negatively regulated. Genes located on the identified clones were deduced by nucleotide sequencing, and the target genes of the VirR/VirS system were identified with a set of Northern hybridizations. A 4.9 kb mRNA transcribing the metB (cystathionine gamma-synthase), cysK (cysteine synthase) and ygaG (hypothetical protein) genes was negatively regulated, whereas 1.6 and 6.0 kb transcripts encoding ptp (protein tyrosine phosphatase) and cpd (2',3'-cyclic nucleotide 2'-phosphodiesterase) respectively, were shown to be positively regulated by the VirR/VirS system. The other gene, hyp7, whose transcript was positively regulated by the VirR/VirS system, was shown to activate the transcription of the colA (kappa-toxin) and plc (alpha-toxin) genes, but not the pfoA (theta-toxin) gene in C. perfringens. These results suggested that the global regulatory system VirR/VirS could regulate various genes, other than toxin genes, both positively and negatively and that the hyp7 gene might encode a novel regulatory factor for toxin production in C. perfringens.