Competent but complex communication: The phenomena of pheromone-responsive plasmids

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Enterococci are robust gram-positive bacteria that are found in a variety of surroundings and that cause a significant number of healthcare-associated infections. The genus possesses a high-efficiency pheromone-responsive plasmid (PRP) transfer system for genetic exchange that allows antimicrobial-resistance determinants to spread within bacterial populations. The pCF10 plasmid system is the best characterised, and although other PRP systems are structurally similar, they lack exact functional homologues of pCF10-encoded genes. In this review, we provide an overview of the enterococcal PRP systems, incorporating functional details for the less-well-defined systems. We catalogue the virulence-associated elements of the PRPs that have been identified to date, and we argue that this reinforces the requirement for elucidation of the less studied systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1008310
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2 Apr 2020


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