Enterococcus faecalis PcfC, a spatially localized substrate receptor for type IV secretiontinn of the pCF10 transfer intermediate

Yuqing Chen, Xiaolin Zhang, Dawn Manias, Hye Jeong Yeo, Gary M. Dunny, Peter J. Christie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Upon sensing of peptide pheromone, Enterococcus faecalis efficiently transfers plasmid pCF10 through a type IV secretion (T4S) system to recipient cells. The PcfF accessory factor and PcfG relaxase initiate transfer by catalyzing strand-specific nicking at the pCF10 origin of transfer sequence (oriT). Here, we present evidence that PcfF and PcfG spatially coordinate docking of the pCF10 transfer intermediate with PcfC, a membranebound putative ATPase related to the coupling proteins of gram-negative T4S machines. PcfC and PcfG fractionated with the membrane and PcfF with the cytoplasm, yet all three proteins formed several punctate foci at the peripheries of pheromone-induced cells as monitored by immunofluorescence microscopy. A PcfC Walker A nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) binding site mutant (K156T) fractionated with the E. faecalis membrane and also formed foci, whereas PcfC deleted of its N-terminal putative transmembrane domain (PcfCΔN103) distributed uniformly throughout the cytoplasm. Native PcfC and mutant proteins PcfCK156T and PcfCΔN103 bound pCF1O but not pcfG or ΔoriT mutant plasmids as shown by transfer DNA immunoprecipitation, indicating that PcfC binds only the processed form of pCF1O in vivo. Finally, purified PcfCΔN103 bound DNA substrates and interacted with purified PcfF and PcfG in vitro. Our findings support a model in which (i) PcfF recruits PcfG to oriT to catalyze T-strand nicking, (ii) PcfF and PcfG spatially position the relaxosome at the cell membrane to stimulate substrate docking with PcfC, and (iii) PcfC initiates substrate transfer through the pCF1O T4S channel by an NTP-dependent mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3632-3645
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2008


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