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Oral Microbiol Immunol. 2000 Oct;15(5):329-34.

Genetic transformation in Streptococcus mutans requires a peptide secretion-like apparatus.

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  • 1Department of Oral Biology, Dental Faculty, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1052 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway.


Competence for genetic transformation in Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus gordonii involves the ComAB secretion apparatus, which is thought to export the competence-stimulating peptide. Homologous secretory systems are also used for the export of certain bacteriocins and bacteriocin-like peptides. In this study, a similar secretory apparatus was found in the Streptococcus mutans genome, and its role in transformation was investigated. Gene inactivation resulted in a mutant deficient in transformability. We suggest that secretion of a peptide, possibly the competence-stimulating peptide itself, is involved in competence induction also in S. mutans.

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