Summary: Because of their potential usefulness as natural food preservatives, increased interest has focused on bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria. Mesentericin Y105 is a small non-lantibiotic bacteriocin (class II) encoded within a 35 kb plasmid from Y105 and it is active against . Using reverse genetic methodologies, an 8 kb ll fragment has been cloned that contains the mesentericin Y105 structural gene, Y, which encodes a precursor of the bacteriocin with a 24 amino acid N-terminal extension ending with a Gly-Gly motif upstream of the cleavage site, which is typical of class II bacteriocins. Four other putative genes are associated with mesY within two divergent putative operons. In addition to , the first putative operon is predicted to encode a protein, similar to that encoded by ORF2 in the leucocin A operon, whose function remains to be elucidated. The second putative operon contains three ORFs, two of which, and , encode proteins that resemble ATP-dependent transporters and accessory factors, respectively. For three other class II bacteriocin systems (lactococcin A, pediocin PA-1, colicin V), these proteins have been shown to be involved in bacteriocin secretion independently of the general sec-dependent secretion pathway. The last putative gene () does not resemble any previously characterized gene. Results concerning the heterologous expression of the cloned in NCK64 suggest that the maturation and secretion functions dedicated to lactacin F (another class II bacteriocin) are efficient for mesentericin Y105 as well. This characteristic may be of great interest in the development of industrial fermentation starters producing multiple bactericidal activities.


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