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J Bacteriol. 2011 Sep;193(17):4380-7. doi: 10.1128/JB.05028-11. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

The sulfolobicin genes of Sulfolobus acidocaldarius encode novel antimicrobial proteins.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Microbiology, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, Netherlands Proteomics Centre, and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, Nijenborgh 7, 9747 AG Groningen, The Netherlands.


Crenarchaea, such as Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and Sulfolobus tokodaii, produce antimicrobial proteins called sulfolobicins. These antimicrobial proteins inhibit the growth of closely related species. Here we report the identification of the sulfolobicin-encoding genes in S. acidocaldarius. The active sulfolobicin comprises two proteins that are equipped with a classical signal sequence. These proteins are secreted by the cells and found to be membrane vesicle associated. Gene inactivation studies demonstrate that both proteins are required for the bacteriostatic antimicrobial activity. Sulfolobicins constitute a novel class of antimicrobial proteins without detectable homology to any other protein.

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