A Linear Pentapeptide Is a Quorum-Sensing Factor Required for mazEF-Mediated Cell Death in Escherichia coli

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Science  26 Oct 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5850, pp. 652-655
DOI: 10.1126/science.1147248

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mazEF is a toxin-antitoxin module located on many bacterial chromosomes, including those of pathogens. Here, we report that Escherichia coli mazEF-mediated cell death is a population phenomenon requiring a quorum-sensing molecule that we call the extracellular death factor (EDF). Structural analysis revealed that EDF is a linear pentapeptide, Asn-Asn-Trp-Asn-Asn. Each of the five amino acids of EDF is important for its activity.

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