CodY is a nutritional regulator mainly involved in amino acid metabolism. It has been extensively studied in Bacillus subtilis and Lactococcus lactis. We investigated the role of CodY in gene regulation and virulence of the human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae. We constructed a codY mutant and examined the effect on gene and protein expression by microarray and two-dimensional differential gel electrophoresis analysis. The pneumococcal CodY regulon was found to consist predominantly of genes involved in amino acid metabolism but also several other cellular processes, such as carbon metabolism and iron uptake. By means of electrophoretic mobility shift assays and DNA footprinting, we showed that most of the targets identified are under the direct control of CodY. By mutating DNA predicted to represent the CodY box based on the L. lactis consensus, we demonstrated that this sequence is indeed required for in vitro DNA binding to target promoters. Similar to L. lactis, DNA binding of CodY was enhanced in the presence of branched-chain amino acids, but not by GTP. We observed in experimental mouse models that codY is transcribed in the murine nasopharynx and lungs and is specifically required for colonization. This finding was underscored by the diminished ability of the codY mutant to adhere to nasopharyngeal cells in vitro. Furthermore, we found that pcpA, activated by CodY, is required for adherence to nasopharyngeal cells, suggesting a direct link between nutritional regulation and adherence. In conclusion, pneumococcal CodY predominantly regulates genes involved in amino acid metabolism and contributes to the early stages of infection, i.e., colonization of the nasopharynx. Copyright,
Journal of Bacteriology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hendriksen, W., Bootsma, H., Estevão, S., Hoogenboezem, T., de Jong, A., de Groot, R., … Hermans, P. (2008). CodY of Streptococcus pneumoniae: Link between nutritional gene regulation and colonization. Journal of Bacteriology, 190(2), 590–601. doi:10.1128/JB.00917-07