Genetic analysis of a region of the Enterococcus faecalis plasmid pCF10 involved in positive regulation of conjugative transfer functions

J. W. Chung, B. A. Bensing, G. M. Dunny

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Abstract

The prgB gene encodes the surface protein Asc10, which mediates cell aggregation resulting in high-frequency conjugative transfer of the pheromone-inducible tetracycline resistance plasmid pCF10 in Enterococcus faecalis. Previous Tn5 insertional mutagenesis and sequencing analysis of a 12-kb fragment of pCF10 indicated that a region containing prgX, -Q, -R, -S, and -T, located 3 to 6 kb upstream of prgB, is required to activate the expression of prgB. Complementation studies showed that the positive regulatory region functions in cis in an orientation-dependent manner (J. W. Chung and G. M. Dunny, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 89:9020-9024, 1992). In order to determine the involvement of each gene in the activation of prgB, Tn5 insertional mutagenesis and exonuclease III deletion analyses of the regulatory region were carried out. The results indicate that prgQ and -S are required for the expression of prgB, while prgX, -R, and -T are not required. Western blot (immunoblot) analysis of these mutants shows that prgQ is also essential for the expression of prgA (encoding the surface exclusion protein Sec10), which is located between prgB and the positive-control region. Complementation analysis demonstrates that a cis-acting regulatory element is located in the prgQ region and that pCF10 sequences in an untranslated region 3' from prgQ are an essential component of the positive-control system. Analyses of various Tn5 insertions in pCF10 genes suggest that transcription reading into this transposon is terminated in E. faecalis but that outward- reading transcripts may initiate from within the ends of Tn5 or from the junction sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2107-2117
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Volume177
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995

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