To date, the role of transcription factors (TFs) in the progression of disease for many pathogens is yet to be studied in detail. This is probably due to transient, and generally low expression levels of TFs, which are the central components controlling the expression of many genes during the course of infection. However, a small change in the expression or specificity of a TF can radically alter gene expression. In this study, we combined a number of quality-based selection strategies including structural prediction of modulated genes, gene ontology and network analysis, to predict the regulatory mechanisms underlying pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae (the pneumococcus). We have identified two TFs (SP_0676 and SP_0927 [SmrC]) that might control tissue-specific gene expression during pneumococcal translocation from the nasopharynx to lungs, to blood and then to brain of mice. Targeted mutagenesis and mouse models of infection confirmed the role of SP_0927 in pathogenesis and virulence, and suggests that SP_0676 might be essential to pneumococcal viability. These findings provide fundamental new insights into virulence gene expression and regulation during pathogenesis.