Pathogens are exposed to different temperatures during an infection cycle and must regulate gene expression accordingly. However, the extent to which virulent bacteria alter gene expression in response to temperatures encountered in the host is unknown. Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a human-specific pathogen that is responsible for illnesses ranging from superficial skin infections and pharyngitis to severe invasive infections such as necrotizing fasciitis and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. GAS survives and multiplies at different temperatures during human infection. DNA microarray analysis was used to investigate the influence of temperature on global gene expression in a serotype M1 strain grown to exponential phase at 29 degrees C and 37 degrees C. Approximately 9% of genes were differentially expressed by at least 1.5-fold at 29 degrees C relative to 37 degrees C, including genes encoding transporter proteins, proteins involved in iron homeostasis, transcriptional regulators, phage-associated proteins, and proteins with no known homologue. Relatively few known virulence genes were differentially expressed at this threshold. However, transcription of 28 genes encoding proteins with predicted secretion signal sequences was altered, indicating that growth temperature substantially influences the extracellular proteome. TaqMan real-time reverse transcription-PCR assays confirmed the microarray data. We also discovered that transcription of genes encoding hemolysins, and proteins with inferred roles in iron regulation, transport, and homeostasis, was influenced by growth at 40 degrees C. Thus, GAS profoundly alters gene expression in response to temperature. The data delineate the spectrum of temperature-regulated gene expression in an important human pathogen and provide many unforeseen lines of pathogenesis investigation.