Identification of a two-component VirR/VirS regulon in Clostridium perfringens

Kaori Ohtani, Hideki Hirakawa, Kousuke Tashiro, Satoko Yoshizawa, Satoru Kuhara, Tohru Shimizu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Clostridium perfringens, a Gram-positive anaerobic pathogen, is a causative agent of human gas gangrene that leads to severe rapid tissue destruction and can cause death within hours unless treated immediately. Production of several toxins is known to be controlled by the two-component VirR/VirS system involving a regulatory RNA (VR-RNA) in C. perfringens. To elucidate the precise regulatory network governed by VirR/VirS and VR-RNA, a series of microarray screening using VirR/VirS and VR-RNA-deficient mutants was performed. Finally, by qRT-PCR analysis, 147 genes (30 single genes and 21 putative operons) were confirmed to be under the control of the VirR/VirS-VR-RNA regulatory cascade. Several virulence-related genes for alpha-toxin, kappa-toxin, hyaluronidases, sialidase, and capsular polysaccharide synthesis were found. Furthermore, some genes for catalytic enzymes, various genes for transporters, and many genes for energy metabolism were also found to be controlled by the cascade. Our data indicate that the VirR/VirS-VR-RNA system is a global gene regulator that might control multiple cellular functions to survive and multiply in the host, which would turn out to be a lethal flesh-eating infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-264
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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