Functional analysis of TraA, the sex pheromone receptor encoded by pPD1, in a promoter region essential for the mating response in Enterococcus faecalis

Takaaki Horii, Hiromichi Nagasawa, Jiro Nakayama

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Conjugative transfer of a bacteriocin plasmid, pPD1, of Enterococcus faecalis is induced in response to a peptide sex pheromone, cPD1, secreted from plasmid-free recipient cells. cPD1 is taken up by a pPD1 donor cell and binds to an intracellular receptor, TraA. Once a recipient cell acquires pPD1, it starts to produce an inhibitor of cPD1, termed iPD1, which functions as a TraA antagonist and blocks self-induction in donor cells. In this study, we discuss how TraA transduces the signal of cPD1 to the mating response. Gel mobility shift assays indicated that TraA is bound to a traA-ipd intergenic region, which is essential for cPD1 response. DNase I footprinting analysis suggested the presence of one strong (tab1) and two weak (tab2 and tab3) TraA-binding sites in the intergenic region. Primer extension analysis implied that the transcriptional initiation sites of traA and ipd were located in the intergenic region. Northern analysis showed that cPD1 upregulated and downregulated transcription of ipd and traA, respectively. The circular permutation assay showed that TraA bent a DNA fragment corresponding to the tab1 region, and its angle was changed in the presence of cPD1 or iPD1. From these data, we propose a model that TraA changes the conformation of the tab1 region in response to cPD1 and upregulates the transcription of ipd, which may lead to expression of genes required for the mating response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6343-6350
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

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