A "retrocidal" plasmid in Enterococcus faecalis

Passage and protection

Susan E. Flannagan, Don B. Clewell, Christine Sedgley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Enterococcus faecalis MC4 harbors a 130 kb conjugative, pheromone (cCF10)-responding plasmid, pAMS1, conferring chloramphenicol, streptomycin and tetracycline resistances. A plasmid-borne class IIa bacteriocin (MC4-1) determinant and cognate immunity gene were present, but not expressed in MC4. However, pAMS1 transfer to E. faecalis JH2-2 (but not to the non-isogenic OG1SS) generated the surprising ability to express bacteriocin activity against the plasmid donor, MC4. The bacteriocin target spectrum includes E. faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus gallinarum, Enterococcus hirae, and Listeria monocytogenes. Those donors unable to express bacteriocin or immunity could protect themselves from the "retrocidal" behavior of transconjugants by a switch to bacteriocin resistance at a frequency of ∼10-3. Reversion to sensitivity occurred at a relatively high frequency, suggestive of involvement of a phase variation event. These observations concerning a conjugative plasmid with novel "retrocidal" properties, coupled with a defense mechanism independent of plasmid-borne immunity functions, may relate to phenomena exploiting regulatory features with broader ecological and evolutionary implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-230
Number of pages14
JournalPlasmid
Volume59
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Bacteriocins
Enterococcus faecalis
Plasmids
Immunity
Chloramphenicol Resistance
Tetracycline Resistance
Enterococcus faecium
Pheromones
Enterococcus
Listeria monocytogenes
Streptomycin
Genes

Keywords

  • Bacteriocin MC4-1
  • Conjugation
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • pAMS1
  • Resistance
  • Sex pheromone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

A "retrocidal" plasmid in Enterococcus faecalis : Passage and protection. / Flannagan, Susan E.; Clewell, Don B.; Sedgley, Christine.

In: Plasmid, Vol. 59, No. 3, 05.2008, p. 217-230.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Flannagan, Susan E. ; Clewell, Don B. ; Sedgley, Christine. / A "retrocidal" plasmid in Enterococcus faecalis : Passage and protection. In: Plasmid. 2008 ; Vol. 59, No. 3. pp. 217-230.
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