Pheromone-inducible conjugation in Enterococcus faecalis: A model for the evolution of biological complexity?

Briana K. Kozlowicz, Martin Dworkin, Gary M Dunny

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Pheromone-inducible transfer of the plasmid pCF10 in Enterococcus faecalis is regulated using a complicated network of proteins and RNAs. The plasmid itself has been assembled from parts garnered from a variety of sources, and many aspects of the system resemble a biological kluge. Recently several new functions of various pCF10 gene products that participate in regulation of plasmid transfer have been identified. The results indicate that selective pressures controlling the evolution of the plasmid have produced a highly complex regulatory network with multiple biological functions that may serve well as a model for the evolution of biological complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-147
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Apr 6 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research in our laboratory is supported by PHS grants GM49530 and HL51987 from the NIH, and a Grant-in-aid from the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota. B.K. Kozlowicz was supported by an NIH traineeship under T32 GM08347, and by a Dissertation fellowship from the University of Minnesota Graduate School.


  • Genetic regulation
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Peptide signal molecule


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