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Mol Microbiol. 1999 Jan;31(1):185-96.

ClpE, a novel member of the HSP100 family, is involved in cell division and virulence of Listeria monocytogenes.

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Inserm U411, Faculté de Médecine Necker, Paris, France.


We identified, in the facultative intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes, a previously unknown Clp ATPase, unique among the HSP100 proteins because of the presence of a short N-terminal region with a potential zinc finger motif. This protein of 726 amino acids is highly homologous to ClpE of Bacillus subtilis, and is a member of a new subfamily of HSP100/Clp ATPases. The clpE gene is transcribed as a monocistronic mRNA from a typical consensus sigma A promoter. clpE is not stimulated by various stresses, but is upregulated in a clpC mutant. This is the first example of cross-regulation between Clp ATPases. By constructing a clpE mutant of L. monocytogenes, we found that ClpE is required for prolonged survival at 42 degrees C and is involved in the virulence of this pathogen. A double mutant deficient in both ClpE and ClpC was avirulent in a mouse model and completely eliminated in the liver. Electron microscopy studies did not show any morphological alterations in clpE or clpC mutants. In the clpE-clpC double mutant, however, cell division was affected, indicating that ClpE acts synergistically with ClpC in cell septation. These results show that the Clp chaperones play a crucial role in both cell division and virulence of L. monocytogenes.

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