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Enterococcus faecalis strains are commensal bacteria in humans and other animals, and they are also the causative agent of opportunistic infectious diseases. Bacteriocin 41 (Bac41) is produced by certain E. faecalis clinical isolates, and it is active against other E. faecalis strains. Our genetic analyses demonstrated that the extracellular products of the bacL1 and bacA genes, which are encoded in the Bac41 operon, coordinately express the bacteriocin activity against E. faecalis. In this study, we investigated the molecular functions of the BacL1 and BacA proteins. Immunoblotting and N-terminal amino acid sequence analysis revealed that BacL1 and BacA are secreted without any processing. The coincidental treatment with the recombinant BacL1 and BacA showed complete bacteriocin activity against E. faecalis, but neither BacL1 nor BacA protein alone showed the bacteriocin activity. Interestingly, BacL1 alone demonstrated substantial degrading activity against the cell wall fraction of E. faecalis in the absence of BacA. Furthermore, MALDI-TOF MS analysis revealed that BacL1 has a peptidoglycan D-isoglutamyl-L-lysine endopeptidase activity via a NlpC/P60 homology domain. These results collectively suggest that BacL1 serves as a peptidoglycan hydrolase and, when BacA is present, results in the lysis of viable E. faecalis cells.


Jun Kurushima, Ikue Hayashi, Motoyuki Sugai, Haruyoshi Tomita. Bacteriocin protein BacL1 of Enterococcus faecalis is a peptidoglycan D-isoglutamyl-L-lysine endopeptidase. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2013 Dec 27;288(52):36915-25

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PMID: 24235140

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