The peptide pheromone-inducible conjugation system of Enterococcus faecalis plasmid pCF10: cell-cell signalling, gene transfer, complexity and evolution

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2007 Jul 29;362(1483):1185-93. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2007.2043.


Expression of a large set of gene products required for conjugative transfer of the antibiotic resistance plasmid pCF10 is controlled by cell-cell communication between plasmid-free recipient cells and plasmid-carrying donor cells using a peptide mating pheromone cCF10. Most of the recent experimental analysis of this system has focused on the molecular events involved in initiation of the pheromone response in the donor cells, and on the mechanisms by which the donor cells control self-induction by endogenously produced pheromone. Recently, studies of the molecular machinery of conjugation encoded by the pheromone-inducible genes have been initiated. In addition, the system may serve as a useful bacterial model for addressing the evolution of biological complexity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology*
  • Conjugation, Genetic / genetics
  • Conjugation, Genetic / physiology*
  • Enterococcus faecalis / genetics
  • Enterococcus faecalis / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial / physiology
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal / genetics
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal / physiology
  • Pheromones / genetics
  • Pheromones / physiology*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Protein Sorting Signals / genetics
  • Protein Sorting Signals / physiology*
  • Quorum Sensing / genetics
  • Quorum Sensing / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Pheromones
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • iCF10 peptide precursor, Plasmid pCF10