Biological functions of a DUF95 superfamily protein in the biosynthesis gene cluster of a novel circular bacteriocin, leucocyclicin Q (LcyQ), were characterized in this paper. Sequence analysis and database search of the regions flanking the LcyQ structural gene lcyQ revealed four open reading frames (lcyR, lcyB, lcyC, and lcyD) related to bacteriocin biosynthesis. LcyD shares some similarity to the DUF95 superfamily proteins, often found in the biosynthetic gene clusters of circular bacteriocins. Mass spectrometry analysis showed accumulation of active mature LcyQ inside lcyD knockout cells. Heterologous expression of lcyD demonstrated that it confers robust immunity against LcyQ. Peptide release/binding assay revealed that the immunity could be attributed to the secretion of LcyQ to the cell exterior. Thus, the DUF95 superfamily protein has a dual function in the biosynthesis of LcyQ, as an immunity-associated transporter and as a secretion-aiding agent. Accumulation of mature LcyQ inside the cell in lcyD knockout strains, further implied that cyclization occurs within the cell. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on LcyQ cyclization inside the cell and the dual role of a DUF95 superfamily protein in circular bacteriocin biosynthesis.
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