Processing and export of peptide pheromones and bacteriocins in Gram-negative bacteria

Trends Microbiol. 2001 Apr;9(4):164-8. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(01)01979-5.


Cell-density-dependent gene expression is widespread in bacteria and is mediated by extracellular communication molecules. Gram-negative bacteria often use N-acyl homoserine lactones, whereas cell-cell signaling in Gram-positive bacteria is accomplished using post-translationally processed peptide pheromones. In many Gram-positive bacteria, export of these peptides requires the activity of a dedicated ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter, which cleaves off a typical leader peptide termed the double-glycine leader sequence concomitant with translocation across the membrane. Inspection of bacterial genome sequences has revealed the presence of similar ABC transporters, as well as genes encoding peptides with double-glycine-type leader sequences in Gram-negative bacteria, and it is suggested that the postulated transported peptides could perform a signaling function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / genetics
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteriocins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Pheromones / metabolism*
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Protein Transport
  • Signal Transduction


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Bacteriocins
  • Peptides
  • Pheromones
  • Protein Sorting Signals