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.
- Enterococcus faecalis
- Pheromone-inducible conjugative plasmid