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Science 318 (5850): 652-655

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A Linear Pentapeptide Is a Quorum-Sensing Factor Required for mazEF-Mediated Cell Death in Escherichia coli

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal,1 Ronen Hazan,1* Ariel Gaathon,2 Shmuel Carmeli,3 Hanna Engelberg-Kulka1{dagger}

Abstract: mazEF is a toxin-antitoxin module located on many bacterial chromosomes, including those of pathogens. Here, we report that Escherichia coli mazEF-mediated cell death is a population phenomenon requiring a quorum-sensing molecule that we call the extracellular death factor (EDF). Structural analysis revealed that EDF is a linear pentapeptide, Asn-Asn-Trp-Asn-Asn. Each of the five amino acids of EDF is important for its activity.

1 Department of Molecular Biology, Hebrew University–Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.
2 Core Research Facility, Hebrew University–Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.
3 School of Chemistry, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.

* Present address: Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: hanita{at}cc.huji.ac.il


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