Current Microbiology

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 206–211

The High Biofilm-Encoding Bee Locus: A Second Pilus Gene Cluster in Enterococcus faecalis?


    • Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Kassel
  • Charles M. A. P. Franz
    • Max Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food
  • Frank Gesellchen
    • Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Kassel
  • Oliver Bertinetti
    • Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Kassel
  • Friedrich W. Herberg
    • Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Kassel
  • Friedrich R. J. Schmidt
    • Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of Kassel

DOI: 10.1007/s00284-009-9422-y

Cite this article as:
Schlüter, S., Franz, C.M.A.P., Gesellchen, F. et al. Curr Microbiol (2009) 59: 206. doi:10.1007/s00284-009-9422-y


An Enterococcus faecalis mutant strain with a reduced ability for biofilm formation and primary attachment when compared to the high biofilm-forming wild-type strain was characterized by molecular biological and proteomic approaches. A point mutation in the srt-1 gene, which encodes a sortase-type enzyme and is part of the recently described bee (biofilm enhancer in Enterococcus) gene cluster, could be identified in the mutant strain. The Srt-1 deficiency resulted in a loss of the Bee-2 protein within a high molecular weight complex in cell surface protein extracts, as determined by mass spectrometry. These findings strongly suggest a specific linkage of Bee-2 to Bee-1 and Bee-3 within a complex by Srt-1. Furthermore, the identification of specific pilin motifs conserved in surface proteins of gram-positive bacteria indicated a possible involvement of the bee genes in the formation of pili structures, and may thus play a role in enhancing biofilm formation in Enterococcus faecalis.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009