ef1097 and ypkK encode enterococcin V583 and corynicin JK, members of a new family of antimicrobial proteins (bacteriocins) with modular structure from Gram-positive bacteria

Pearl M. Swe, Nicholas C.K. Heng, Yi Tian Ting, Hayley J. Baird, Alan Carne, Andreas Tauch, John R. Tagg, Ralph W. Jack

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Unlike the colicins, microcins and related peptide antibiotics, little is known about antibiotic proteins (Mr> 10 000) from Gram-positive bacteria, since only few examples have been described to date. In this study we used heterologous expression of recombinant proteins to access the 17 kDa antibiotic protein SA-M57 from Streptococcus pyogenes, along with two proteins of unknown function identified in publicly available databases: EF1097 from Enterococcus faecalis and YpkK from Corynebacterium jeikeium. Here we show that all three are antibiotic proteins with different spectra of antimicrobial activity that kill sensitive bacteria at nanomolar concentrations. In silico structure predictions indicate that although the three proteins share little sequence similarity, they may be composed of conserved secondary structural elements: a relatively unstructured, acidic N-terminal portion and a basic C-terminal portion characterized by two helical elements separated by a loop structure and stabilized by an essential disulphide. Expression of individual segments as well as protein chimaeras revealed that, at least in the case of YpkK, the C-terminal portion is responsible for the killing action of the protein, whereas the role of the N-terminal portion remains unclear. Both scnM57 and ef1097 appear to be widely distributed in Strep. pyogenes and Ent. faecalis (respectively), whereas ypkK is found only rarely amongst clinical isolates of C. jeikeium. Finally, we determined that the proteins kill sensitive bacteria without lysis, a feature that distinguishes them from known murolytic proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3218-3227
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes

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