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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1978 Jul;75(7):3479-83.

Induced cell aggregation and mating in Streptococcus faecalis: evidence for a bacterial sex pheromone.


Recipient strains of Streptococcus faecalis produce a trypsin sensitive, heat resistant, nuclease resistant factor, designated clumping-inducing agent (CIA) which causes strains carrying certain conjugative plasmids to aggregate. RNA and protein synthesis but not DNA synthesis are required for aggregation to occur. Recipient filtrates that contain CIA activity also induce donors to mate at high frequencies. Introduction of a transferable plasmid into strains producing CIA dramatically reduces the amount of CIA activity produced by the strain but allows the strain to respond to exogenously added CIA. Our data suggest that CIA represents a bacterial sex hormone (pheromone).

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