Contribution of sortase A to the regulation of Listeria monocytogenes LPXTG surface proteins


  • Javier F. Mariscotti
  • Juan J. Quereda
  • M. Graciela Pucciarelli


Gram-positive bacteria of the genus Listeria contain many surface proteins covalently bound to the peptidoglycan. In the pathogenic species Listeria monocytogenes, some of these surface proteins mediate adhesion and entry into host cells. Specialized enzymes called sortases anchor these proteins to the cell wall by a mechanism involving processing and covalent linkage to the peptidoglycan. How bacteria coordinate the production of sortases and their respective protein substrates is currently unknown. The present work investigated whether the functional status of the sortase influences the level at which its cognate substrates are produced. The relative amounts of surface proteins containing an LPXTG sorting motif recognized by sortase A (StrA) were determined in isogenic wild-type and ΔsrtA strains of L. monocytogenes. The possibility of regulation at the transcriptional level was also examined. The results showed that the absence of SrtA did not affect the expression of any of the genes encoding LPXTG proteins. However, marked differences were found at the protein level for some substrates depending on the presence/absence of SrtA. In addition to the known “mis-sorting” of some LPXTG proteins
caused by the absence of SrtA, the total amount of certain LPXTG protein species was lower in the ΔsrtA mutant. These data suggested that the rate of synthesis and/or the stability of a subset of LPXTG proteins could be regulated post-transcriptionally depending on the functionality of SrtA. For some LPXTG proteins, the absence of SrtA resulted in only a partial loss of the protein that remained bound to the peptidoglycan, thus providing support for additional modes of cell-wall association in some members of the LPXTG surface protein family. [Int Microbiol 2012; 15(1):43-51]




Research Articles