Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli is frequently associated with travelers' diarrhea and is a leading cause of infant and childhood mortality in developing countries. Disease is dependent upon the orchestrated expression of enterotoxins, flexible adhesive pili, and other virulence factors. Both the heat-labile (LT) and heat-stable (ST-H) enterotoxins are regulated at the level of transcription by cAMP-receptor protein which represses the expression of LT while activating expression of ST-H the expression of many different serotypes of adhesive pili is regulated by Rns, a member of the AraC family that represents a subgroup of conserved virulence regulators from several enteric pathogens these Rns-like regulators recognize similar DNA binding sites, and a compiled sequence logo suggests they may bind DNA through both major and minor groove interactions these regulators are also tempting targets for novel therapeutics because they play pivotal roles during infection. To that end, high-throughput screens have begun to identify compounds that inhibit the activity of these regulators, predominately by interfering with DNA binding.
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