Megaplasmids encode differing combinations of lantibiotics in Streptococcus salivarius

Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2006 Oct;90(3):269-80. doi: 10.1007/s10482-006-9081-y. Epub 2006 Jul 27.


Streptococcus salivarius strains commonly produce bacteriocins as putative anti-competitor or signalling molecules. Here we report that bacteriocin production by the oral probiotic strain S. salivarius K12 is encoded by a large (ca. 190 kb) plasmid. Oral cavity transmission of the plasmid from strain K12 to a plasmid-negative variant of this bacterium was demonstrated in two subjects. Tests of additional S. salivarius strains showed large (up to ca. 220 kb) plasmids present in bacteriocin-producing isolates. Various combinations (up to 3 per plasmid) of loci encoding the known streptococcal lantibiotics salivaricin A, salivaricin B, streptin and SA-FF22 were localised to these plasmids. Since all bacteriocin-producing strains of S. salivarius tested to date appear to harbour plasmids, it appears that they may function as mobile repositories for bacteriocin loci, especially those of the lantibiotic class.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacteriocins / genetics
  • Bacteriocins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Plasmids / genetics*
  • Plasmids / metabolism
  • Streptococcus / genetics*
  • Streptococcus / metabolism


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacteriocins
  • Peptides
  • streptin
  • salivaricin A
  • A-FF22