Rgg-associated SHP signaling peptides mediate cross-talk in Streptococci

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 11;8(6):e66042. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0066042. Print 2013.


We described a quorum-sensing mechanism in the streptococci genus involving a short hydrophobic peptide (SHP), which acts as a pheromone, and a transcriptional regulator belonging to the Rgg family. The shp/rgg genes, found in nearly all streptococcal genomes and in several copies in some, have been classified into three groups. We used a genetic approach to evaluate the functionality of the SHP/Rgg quorum-sensing mechanism, encoded by three selected shp/rgg loci, in pathogenic and non-pathogenic streptococci. We characterized the mature form of each SHP pheromone by mass-spectrometry. We produced synthetic peptides corresponding to these mature forms, and used them to study functional complementation and cross-talk between these different SHP/Rgg systems. We demonstrate that a SHP pheromone of one system can influence the activity of a different system. Interestingly, this does not seem to be dependent on the SHP/Rgg group and cross-talk between pathogenic and non-pathogenic streptococci is observed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Peptides / genetics
  • Peptides / metabolism*
  • Pheromones / genetics
  • Pheromones / metabolism
  • Quorum Sensing / genetics
  • Quorum Sensing / physiology
  • Streptococcus / genetics
  • Streptococcus / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Pheromones