Staphylococcus aureus produces various proteins in response to discrete signals from the external environment like many other pathogenic microorganisms. Certain staphylococcal exoproteins including toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) are secreted according to the stimuli from the environment, and the quantity synthesized is influenced by a number of different parameters. Using a transposon Tn551-mediated mutagenesis, a mutant (RN 6390) defective in TSST-1 from synthesis was constructed. TSST-1 from wild strain and mutant stain were purified and quantitated from culture supernatants of Staphylococcus aureus. The mutant strain RN 6390 produced only 2% of TSST-1 compared with that produced by the wild strain RN4282. Southern blot hybridization with a tst (TSST-1 gene) probe indicated that the inactivated chromosomal locus is distinct from the tst. These results suggest that transposition by Tn551 inactivated a chromosomal locus whose activity was essential for the expression of the TSST-1 gene.
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