The enterococcal pheromone-inducible plasmids such as pCF10 represent a unique class of mobile genetic elements whose transfer functions are induced by peptide sex pheromones. These pheromones are excreted by potential recipient cells and detected by plasmid-containing donor cells at the cell surface, where the pheromone is imported and signals induction of the plasmid transfer system. Pheromone is processed from a chromosomally encoded lipoprotein and excreted by both the donor and recipient cells, but a carefully controlled detection system prevents a response to self-pheromone while still allowing an extremely sensitive response to exogenous pheromone.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors thank all of the members of the Dunny laboratory for providing much of the data on which this paper is based. This research is supported by NIH grant no. GM49530. J.R.C. is a trainee funded by the NIH MinnCResT training grant no. T32 DE07288.
- Enterococcus faecalis
- Pheromone-inducible conjugative plasmid