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Microbiology. 2007 May;153(Pt 5):1631-1641. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.2006/003756-0.

Isolation and partial characterization of the Streptococcus mutans type AII lantibiotic mutacin K8.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.
BLIS Technologies Ltd, Centre for Innovation, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Streptococcus mutans strain K8 was shown to produce a newly identified type AII lantibiotic, mutacin K8. The mutacin K8-encoding muk locus consists of 13 ORFs, three of which (mukA1, A2 and A3) have close homology to scnA, the structural gene encoding the Streptococcus pyogenes lantibiotic SA-FF22, and another (mukA') resembles scnA', an ORF in the SA-FF22 locus that has no currently assigned function. Inactivation of the muk locus indicated that mutacin K8 is responsible for most of the inhibitory activity produced by strain K8 in deferred antagonism tests on Columbia blood agar base supplemented with 5 % human blood and 0.1 % CaCO(3). By contrast, on tryptic soy agar plus 2 % yeast extract and 0.5 % CaCO(3) most of the inhibitory activity of strain K8 appeared to be attributable either to mutacin IV or to some other inhibitory peptide(s) exported by the mutacin IV transporter nlmT. An inhibitory peptide purified from a derivative of strain K8 in which nlmT had been inactivated had a mass of 2734 Da and an N-terminal sequence identical to the predicted propeptide translation products of mukA1 and mukA3. The muk locus may be widely distributed in S. mutans, since 9 (35 %) of 26 strains tested contained at least part of the locus. In the genome sequence of strain UA159 the muk locus is incomplete, the sole residual components being the ORFs encoding the putative two-component regulatory system mukR (SMU.1815) and mukK (SMU.1814), followed by two transposases (SMU.1813 and SMU.1812) and then the ORFs mukF (SMU.1811), mukE (SMU.1810) and mukG (SMU.1809), thought to encode putative immunity peptides. Strains such as UA159 having incomplete loci did not produce detectable levels of mutacin K8.

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