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Genetic analysis of the bacteriocin‐encoding plasmids pRJ6 and pRJ9 of Staphylococcus aureus by transposon mutagenesis and cloning of genes involved in bacteriocin production

Oliveira, S.S., Nascimento, J. dos Santos, Póvoa, D.C., Araújo, S. Amaral, Gamon, M. Rodrigues, Bastos, M.C. de Freire
Journal of applied microbiology 1998 v.85 no.6 pp. 972-984
Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, antibacterial properties, bacteriocins, food pathogens, immunity, lactic acid bacteria, molecular cloning, mutagenesis, operon, plasmids, structural genes, transcription (genetics), transposons
S.S. DE OLIVEIRA, J. DOS SANTOS NASCIMENTO, D.C. PÓVOA, S.A. DE ARAÚJO, M.R. GAMON AND M C DE FREIRE BASTOS. 1998. pRJ6 and pRJ9, small Staphylococcus aureus plasmids which code for bacteriocins, exhibited a bactericidal activity against several lactic acid bacteria and strains of Listeria monocytogenes, an important food‐borne pathogen. Filter‐mating experiments using plasmid derivatives tagged with either Tn551 or Tn917‐lac showed that pRJ6, but not pRJ9, could be mobilized by staphylococcal conjugative plasmids. Transposon mutagenesis of both plasmids was also performed. The bacteriocin and immunity structural genes of pRJ6 are part of the same operon, which is located around co‐ordinate 4·0, being transcribed from right to left. However, gene cloning experiments using a staphylococcal vector showed some evidence for the involvement of additional functions of pRJ6 in bacteriocin expression. One function involved in pRJ6 mobilization mapped around co‐ordinate 5·2, and it appears to be transcribed from left to right. The bactericidal action exerted by strains harbouring pRJ9 appears to reflect the activity of at least two bacteriocins, whose combined action results in a broader spectrum of activity and in a higher antagonistic activity. Gene cloning experiments also supported these assumptions.