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J Bacteriol. 2005 Aug;187(15):5224-35.

An agr-like two-component regulatory system in Lactobacillus plantarum is involved in production of a novel cyclic peptide and regulation of adherence.

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Laboratory of Microbiology, Wageningen University, Hesselink van Suchtelenweg 4, 6703 CT Wageningen, The Netherlands.


We have analyzed a locus on the annotated Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1 genome that showed homology to the staphylococcal agr quorum-sensing system and designated it lam for Lactobacillus agr-like module. Production of the lamBDCA transcript was shown to be growth phase dependent. Analysis of a response regulator-defective mutant (Delta)lamA) in an adherence assay showed that lam regulates adherence of L. plantarum to a glass surface. Global transcription analysis of the wild-type and (Delta)lamA strains in early, mid-, and late log phase of growth was performed using a clone-based microarray. Remarkably, only a small set of genes showed significant differences in transcription profiles between the wild-type and lamA mutant strains. The microarray analysis confirmed that lamBDCA is autoregulatory and showed that lamA is involved in regulation of expression of genes encoding surface polysaccharides, cell membrane proteins, and sugar utilization proteins. The lamBD genes encoding the putative autoinducing peptide precursor (LamD) and its processing protein (LamB) were overexpressed using the nisin-controlled expression system, and culture supernatants were analyzed by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) to identify overproduced LamD-derived peptides. In this way, a cyclic thiolactone pentapeptide that possesses a ring structure similar to those of autoinducing peptides of the staphylococcal agr system was identified. The peptide was designated LamD558, and its sequence (CVGIW) matched the annotated precursor peptide sequence. Time course analysis of wild-type culture supernatants by LC/MS indicated that LamD558 production was increased markedly from mid-log to late log growth phase. This is the first example of an agr-like system in nonpathogenic bacteria that encodes a cyclic thiolactone autoinducing peptide and is involved in regulation of adherence.

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