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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2011 May;77(10):3335-42. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02602-10. Epub 2011 Mar 18.

Mechanisms of resistance to bacteriocins targeting the mannose phosphotransferase system.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, 1432 Ås, Norway.


The membrane proteins IIC and IID of the mannose phosphotransferase system (Man-PTS) together form a membrane-located complex that serves as a receptor for several different bacteriocins, including the pediocin-like class IIa bacteriocins and the class IIc bacteriocin lactococcin A. Bacterial strains sensitive to class IIa bacteriocins readily give rise to resistant mutants upon bacteriocin exposure. In the present study, we have therefore investigated lactococcin A-resistant mutants of Lactococcus lactis as well as natural food isolates of Listeria monocytogenes with different susceptibilities to class IIa bacteriocins. We found two major mechanisms of resistance. The first involves downregulation of Man-PTS gene expression, which takes place both in spontaneous resistant mutants and in natural resistant isolates. The second involves normal expression of the Man-PTS system, but the underlying mechanism of resistance for these cells is unknown. In some cases, the resistant phenotype was linked to a shift in the metabolism; i.e., reduced growth on glucose due to reduction in Man-PTS expression was accompanied by enhanced growth on another sugar, such as galactose. The implications of these findings in terms of metabolic heterogeneity are discussed.

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