PolA1, a putative DNA polymerase I, is coexpressed with PerR and contributes to peroxide stress defenses of group A Streptococcus.

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The peroxide stress response regulator PerR coordinates the ...
The peroxide stress response regulator PerR coordinates the oxidative-stress defenses of group A Streptococcus (GAS). We now show that PerR is expressed from an operon encoding a putative DNA polymerase I (PolA1), among other GAS products. A polA1 deletion mutant exhibited wild-type growth but showed reduced capacity to repair DNA damage caused by UV light or ciprofloxacin. Mutant bacteria were hypersensitive to H(2)O(2), compared with the wild type or a complemented mutant strain, and remained severely attenuated even after adaptation at sublethal H(2)O(2) levels, whereas wild-type bacteria could adapt to withstand peroxide challenge under identical conditions. The hypersensitivity of the mutant was reversed when bacteria were grown in iron-depleted medium and challenged in the presence of a hydroxyl radical scavenger, results that indicated sensitivity to hydroxyl radicals generated by Fenton chemistry. The peroxide resistance of a perR polA1 double mutant following adaptation at sublethal H(2)O(2) levels was decreased 9-fold relative to a perR single mutant, thus implicating PolA1 in PerR-mediated defenses against peroxide stress. Cultures of the polA1 mutant grown with or without prior H(2)O(2) exposure yielded considerably lower numbers of rifampin-resistant mutants than cultures of the wild type or the complemented mutant strain, a finding consistent with PolA1 lacking proofreading activity. We conclude that PolA1 promotes genome sequence diversity while playing an essential role in oxidative DNA damage repair mechanisms of GAS, dual functions predicted to confer optimal adaptive capacity and fitness in the host. Together, our studies reveal a unique genetic and functional relationship between PerR and PolA1 in streptococci.



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