Streptococcus gordoniipheromone s.g.cAM373 may influence the reservoir of antibiotic resistance determinants ofEnterococcus faecalisorigin in the oral metagenome

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Streptococcus gordonii produces a pheromone heptapeptide, s.g.cAM373, which induces a conjugative mating response in Enterococcus faecalis cells carrying the responsive plasmid, pAM373. We investigated the extent of this intergeneric signaling on DNA acquisition by streptococcal species likely to cohabit oral biofilms. E. faecalis/pAM373/pAMS470 cells were incubated with synthetic s.g.cAM373, reverse peptide s.g.cAM373-R, or peptide-free medium and examined for their abilities to transfer plasmid DNA to streptococcal species in the presence of DNase. Preinduction of E. faecalis donors with s.g.cAM373 resulted in transconjugation frequencies in non-pheromone producing strains of Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus sanguinis, Streptococcus anginosus, and Streptococcus suis that were significantly higher than frequencies when donors were preincubated with s.g.cAM373-R or medium alone. Peptide-mediated communication between commensal streptococci and E. faecalis carrying pheromone-responsive plasmids may facilitate conjugative DNA transfer to bystander species, and influence the reservoir of antibiotic resistance determinants of enterococcal origin in the oral metagenome.

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