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J Bacteriol. 1993 Jun;175(11):3491-501.

The iap gene of Listeria monocytogenes is essential for cell viability, and its gene product, p60, has bacteriolytic activity.

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  • 1Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenchaften, Lehrstuhl für Mikrobiologie, Universität Würzburg, Germany.


Expression of the iap gene of Listeria monocytogenes in the L. monocytogenes rough mutant RIII and in Bacillus subtilis DB104 caused the disruption of the cell chains which these two strains normally form under exponential growth conditions. The p60 protein produced by L. monocytogenes and B. subtilis DB104 also exhibited bacteriolytic activity detected in denaturing polyacrylamide gels containing heat-killed Micrococcus lysodeikticus. Purification of the p60 protein led to aggregation of p60 and loss of the cell chain disruption and bacteriolytic activities. A cysteine residue in the C-terminal part of p60 which is conserved in all p60-like proteins from the other Listeria species seems to be essential for both activities. The iap gene could not be inactivated without a loss of cell viability, indicating that p60 is an essential housekeeping protein for L. monocytogenes and probably also for other Listeria species. These data suggest that p60 possesses a murein hydrolase activity required for a late step in cell division.

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