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Quorum Sensing Regulation of Competence and Bacteriocins in Streptococcus pneumoniae and mutans

Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helen J. Wing
Genes 2017, 8(1), 15;
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 25 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virulence Gene Regulation in Bacteria)
The human pathogens Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus mutans have both evolved complex quorum sensing (QS) systems that regulate the production of bacteriocins and the entry into the competent state, a requirement for natural transformation. Natural transformation provides bacteria with a mechanism to repair damaged genes or as a source of new advantageous traits. In S. pneumoniae, the competence pathway is controlled by the two-component signal transduction pathway ComCDE, which directly regulates SigX, the alternative sigma factor required for the initiation into competence. Over the past two decades, effectors of cellular killing (i.e., fratricides) have been recognized as important targets of the pneumococcal competence QS pathway. Recently, direct interactions between the ComCDE and the paralogous BlpRH pathway, regulating bacteriocin production, were identified, further strengthening the interconnections between these two QS systems. Interestingly, a similar theme is being revealed in S. mutans, the primary etiological agent of dental caries. This review compares the relationship between the bacteriocin and the competence QS pathways in both S. pneumoniae and S. mutans, and hopes to provide clues to regulatory pathways across the genus Streptococcus as a potential tool to efficiently investigate putative competence pathways in nontransformable streptococci. View Full-Text
Keywords: quorum sensing; competence; transformation; bacteriocin; fratricide; gene regulation quorum sensing; competence; transformation; bacteriocin; fratricide; gene regulation
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Shanker, E.; Federle, M.J. Quorum Sensing Regulation of Competence and Bacteriocins in Streptococcus pneumoniae and mutans. Genes 2017, 8, 15.

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