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Science. 2007 Oct 26;318(5850):652-5.

A linear pentapeptide is a quorum-sensing factor required for mazEF-mediated cell death in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.


mazEF is a toxin-antitoxin module located on many bacterial chromosomes, including those of pathogens. Here, we report that Escherichia coli mazEF-mediated cell death is a population phenomenon requiring a quorum-sensing molecule that we call the extracellular death factor (EDF). Structural analysis revealed that EDF is a linear pentapeptide, Asn-Asn-Trp-Asn-Asn. Each of the five amino acids of EDF is important for its activity.

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