Current Microbiology

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 206–211

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

  • Susanne Schlüter
  • Charles M. A. P. Franz
  • Frank Gesellchen
  • Oliver Bertinetti
  • Friedrich W. Herberg
  • Friedrich R. J. Schmidt


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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susanne Schlüter
    • 1
  • Charles M. A. P. Franz
    • 2
  • Frank Gesellchen
    • 3
  • Oliver Bertinetti
    • 3
  • Friedrich W. Herberg
    • 3
  • Friedrich R. J. Schmidt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyUniversity of KasselKasselGermany
  2. 2.Max Rubner-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and FoodKarlsruheGermany
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

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