An intramembrane sensory circuit monitors sortase A–mediated processing of streptococcal adhesins

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Science Signaling  07 May 2019:
Vol. 12, Issue 580, eaas9941
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aas9941

Quality control in bacterial adhesion

Adhesins mediate bacterial adhesion and are often required for host colonization. As adhesins of the LPXTG family are exported and covalently linked to the cell wall, the LPXTG motif is cleaved, producing a C-terminal peptide (C-pep) that remains embedded in the cell membrane. Hall et al. found that the presence of C-peps from the LPXTG adhesins of Streptococcus gordonii, which are found in oral microbial biofilms and can cause infective endocarditis after entering the bloodstream, inhibited the expression of alternative adhesins through a two-component system (TCS). In the absence of C-peps from LPXTG adhesins, the TCS stimulated the expression of alternative adhesins that supported biofilm formation. This intramembrane quality control mechanism ensures that S. gordonii can form biofilms under various environmental conditions.

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