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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2006 Oct;90(3):269-80. Epub 2006 Jul 27.

Megaplasmids encode differing combinations of lantibiotics in Streptococcus salivarius.

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BLIS Technologies Ltd., Centre for Innovation, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, 9001, New Zealand.


Streptococcus salivarius strains commonly produce bacteriocins as putative anti-competitor or signalling molecules. Here we report that bacteriocin production by the oral probiotic strain S. salivarius K12 is encoded by a large (ca. 190 kb) plasmid. Oral cavity transmission of the plasmid from strain K12 to a plasmid-negative variant of this bacterium was demonstrated in two subjects. Tests of additional S. salivarius strains showed large (up to ca. 220 kb) plasmids present in bacteriocin-producing isolates. Various combinations (up to 3 per plasmid) of loci encoding the known streptococcal lantibiotics salivaricin A, salivaricin B, streptin and SA-FF22 were localised to these plasmids. Since all bacteriocin-producing strains of S. salivarius tested to date appear to harbour plasmids, it appears that they may function as mobile repositories for bacteriocin loci, especially those of the lantibiotic class.

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