Summary: produces a number of virulence factors whose expression is coordinately regulated by the locus. Transcription of virulence genes is repressed by environmental factors such as low temperature (25°C) and chemical stimuli. Temperature shift of bacterial cultures from 25°C to 37°C activates two classes of -regulated virulence genes: the early genes, which are activated within 10 min, and late genes, which require 2-4 h for activation. During the interval between the activation of the early and late genes, the intracellular concentration of BvgA increases 50-fold. It has been proposed that this increased concentration may be required for the activation of the late genes. Here we have analysed the response of the locus to intermediate temperatures and to repeated temperature shifts. Temperature shifts of cultures from 22°C to 28°C, 32°C or 35°C resulted in the synthesis of low, intermediate, and high amounts of BvgA. This implied that the intracellular concentration of BvgA is temperature-dependent. We have also observed that the amount of virulence factors produced correlates with the BvgA concentration. When bacteria grown at 37°C were shifted to 22 °C, transcription from the adenylate cyclase toxin haemolysis promoter (P) was repressed after 30 min, while transcription from the (P) and filamentous haemagglutinin (P) promoters was repressed after 2 h. During this time, the amount of BvgA did not decrease. A subsequent temperature shift from 22°C to 37°C induced transcription from the P, and P promoters after 10 min and transcription from the PAC promoter after 20 min. This result shows that in the presence of a high concentration of BvgA, the time lag between temperature shift and late promoter transcription is reduced from 2-4 h to 20 min. The above data support the proposal that the concentration of BvgA plays a role in activating expression of the late genes.


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