The unconventional antimicrobial peptides of the classical propionibacteria

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2011 Feb;89(3):549-54. doi: 10.1007/s00253-010-2967-7. Epub 2010 Oct 31.


The classical propionibacteria produce genetically unique antimicrobial peptides, whose biological activities are without equivalents, and to which there are no homologous sequences in public databases. In this review, we summarize the genetics, biochemistry, biosynthesis, and biological activities of three extensively studied antimicrobial peptides from propionibacteria. The propionicin T1 peptide constitutes a bona fide example of an unmodified general secretory pathway (sec)-dependent bacteriocin, which is bactericidal towards all tested species of propionibacteria except Propionibacterium freudenreichii. The PAMP antimicrobial peptide represents a novel concept within bacterial antagonism, where an inactive precursor protein is secreted in large amounts, and which activation appears to rely on subsequent processing by proteases in its resident milieu. Propionicin F is a negatively charged bacteriocin that displays an intraspecies bactericidal inhibition spectrum. The biosynthesis of propionicin F appears to proceed through a series of unusual events requiring both N- and C-terminal processing of a precursor protein, which probably requires the radical SAM superfamily enzyme PcfB.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / metabolism*
  • Bacteriocins / biosynthesis
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / genetics
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Propionibacterium / genetics
  • Propionibacterium / metabolism*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Bacteriocins
  • Peptides
  • propionicin T1