Evolution of the Enterococcus faecalis sex pheromone system.

R. Wirth, H. Hirt, A. Muscholl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this article we present data that form the basis of a model of the evolution of the unique Enterococcus faecalis sex pheromone system. The data indicate tht sex pheromone plasmid-encoded genes/functions, which are essential for this highly efficient plasmid collection system, are common among all sex pheromone plasmids; pAM373 seems to be only distantly related to all other pheromone plasmids. These genes appear to be restricted to sex pheromone plasmids (but see below for possible exceptions). However, the ability to produce sex pheromone-like peptides is not restricted to E. faecalis. We argue that the sex pheromone system of E. faecalis developed only once--but into at least 19 different variants--to form a system which is highly specific for this bacterium and is related to virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopments in biological standardization
StatePublished - 1995


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