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J Bacteriol. 2000 Aug;182(16):4512-20.

Inactivation of the stress- and starvation-inducible gls24 operon has a pleiotrophic effect on cell morphology, stress sensitivity, and gene expression in Enterococcus faecalis.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Microbiologie de l'Environnement, Université de Caen, 14032 Caen, France.


Enterococcus faecalis induces the synthesis of at least 42 proteins during 24 h of glucose starvation. Because of its induction during carbohydrate and complete starvation (incubation in tap water) and CdCl(2) and bile salts stresses, one of these proteins (Gls24) was qualified as a "general stress protein" and was analyzed at the molecular level. Its corresponding gene, gls24, seems to be the penultimate gene of an operon composed, altogether, of six open reading frames (ORFs). The ORF preceding gls24 (orf4) showed very strong identity with gls24. The deduced polypeptides of these two genes showed similarity with a 20-kDa hypothetical protein from Lactococcus lactis and an alkaline stress protein from Staphylococcus aureus with no previously known biological significance. Data from the operon sequence and Northern analysis led to the conclusions that (i) gls24 possesses its own promoter which is especially induced at the onset of starvation and (ii) the operon promoter is stress inducible in exponential-phase cells. A mutation in the gls24 gene led to a severe reduction of growth rate and reduction of survival against 0.3% bile salts in the 24-h-starved cells compared to the wild-type strain. Moreover, the chain length of the mutant is significantly reduced during growth. These results argue strongly for a role of the protein Gls24 and/or GlsB in morphological changes and in stress tolerance in E. faecalis. Comparison of two-dimensional protein gels from wild-type cells with those from gls24 mutant cells revealed a pleiotropic effect of the mutation on gene expression. At least nine proteins were present in larger amounts in the mutant. For six of them, the corresponding N-terminal microsequence has been obtained. Three of these sequences map in genes coding for L-lactate dehydrogenase, lipoamide dehydrogenase, and pyruvate decarboxylase, all involved in pyruvate metabolism.

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