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Mol Microbiol. 2005 Apr;56(2):383-96.

Translation elongation factor EF-Tu is a target for Stp, a serine-threonine phosphatase involved in virulence of Listeria monocytogenes.

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Unité des Interactions Bactéries-Cellules, Institut Pasteur, INSERM U604, INRA USC2020, 28 rue du Dr. Roux, 75724 Paris Cedex 15, France.


Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen that causes listeriosis, a severe food-borne infection. This bacterium, in order to survive and grow in the multiple conditions encountered in the host and the environment, has evolved a large number of regulatory elements, in particular many signal transduction systems based on reversible phosphorylation. The genome sequence has revealed genes for 16 putative two-component systems, four putative tyrosine phosphatases, three putative serine-threonine kinases and two putative serine-threonine phosphatases. We found that one of the latter genes, stp, encodes a functional Mn(2+)-dependent serine-threonine phosphatase similar to PPM eukaryotic phosphatases (Mg(2+)-or Mn(2+)-dependent protein phosphatase) and is required for growth of L. monocytogenes in a murine model of infection. We identified as the first target for Stp, the elongation factor EF-Tu. Post-translational phosphorylation of EF-Tu had been shown to prevent its binding to amino-acylated transfer RNA as well as to kirromycin, an antibiotic known to inhibit EF-Tu function. Accordingly, an stp deletion mutant is less sensitive to kirromycin. These results suggest an important role for Stp in regulating EF-Tu and controlling bacterial survival in the infected host.

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