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1.C.24 The Pediocin (Pediocin) Family

Many organisms synthesize proteins (or peptides) which are degraded to relatively small hydrophobic or amphipathic, bioactive peptides. These peptides exhibit antibiotic, fungicidal, virucidal, hemolytic and/or tumoricidal activities by interacting with membranes and forming transmembrane channels that allow the free flow of electrolytes, metabolites and water across the phospholipid bilayers. Most of these peptides appear to function in biological warfare. There are many designations given to these bioactive peptides. They include the magainins, cecropins, melittins, defensins, bacteriocidins, etc. The proteins in each family within this functional superfamily are homologous, but they exhibit little or no significant sequence similarity with members of the other families. Thus, each family may have evolved independently. However, certain common structural features observed between members of distinct families suggest that at least some of these families share a common ancestry.

Bacteriocins are bacterially produced peptide antibiotics with the ability to kill a limited range of bacteria, usually but not always those that are closely related to the producer bacterium. Many of them exhibit structural features typical of members of the eukaryotic channel-forming amphipathic peptides. That is, they are usually synthesized as small precursor proteins or peptides which are processed with proteolytic elimination of their N-terminal leader sequences, and the resultant mature peptides form one, two or more putative amphipathic transmembrane α-helical spanners (TMSs). For those with two TMSs, a characteristic hinge region that separates the two putative transmembrane segments is usually observed. A similar structural arrangement occurs in the two-TMS Cecropin A proteins (TC #1.C.17).

Many bacteriocins are encoded in operons that also encode an immunity protein and an ABC transport system (TC #3.A.1) with a protease domain at the N-terminus. The ABC systems export the bacteriocins while the protease domains cleave the N-terminal leader sequence. A few bacteriocins are exported by the type II general secretory pathway rather than by ABC-type export systems. In some cases, expression of the bacteriocin-encoding operon is induced by a bacteriocin-like peptide which acts in conjunction with a two component sensor kinase-response regulator to effect induction.

Peptide bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria are categorized into two different classes according to their biochemical and genetic properties (Drider et al., 2006; Nes et al., 2007). Class I peptides are the lantibiotics, which are small, posttranslationally modified peptides that contain unusual amino acids such as lanthionine (1.C.20). Class II includes unmodified bacteriocins which are subdivided into three subclasses, namely, class IIa (pediocin-like bacteriocins), class IIb (two-peptide bacteriocins), and IIc (other [i.e., non-pediocin-like], one-peptide bacteriocins).

Class II non lanthionine-containing heat-stable bacteriocins are small membrane active peptides of less than 10 kDa characterized by a Gly-Gly-1 Xaa+1 processing site in the bacteriocin precursor, processed by the protease domain linked to the ABC-type bacteriocin export permease (e.g., TC #3.A.1.42.2). The mature bacteriocins are predicted to form amphipathic helices with varying amounts of hydrophobicity. Subgroups in Class II bacteriocins include: class IIa, Listeria-active peptides with a consensus sequence in the N-terminus of Y-G-N-G-V-X-C. Many other homologous peptides, not tabulated, are also members of this family. Pediocin PA-1 and Sakacin P are members of this family (TC #1.C.24.1.1 and 1.C.24.1.2, respectively). While Pediocin PA-1 has a C-terminal disulfide bridge, Sakacin P does not. Introducing such a bridge in Sakacin P broadened its target cell specificity and rendered it 10-20x more potent against many bacterial strains but not others. The disulfide bridge also increased its heat stability.

Many bacteriocins have been identified in addition to those tabulated in the TC system, but those listed are among the best characterized, with respect to evidence for channel formation in target bacterial membranes. Some members of the family have additional functions. For example, one member of the Pediocin family, Divergicin M35 activates K+ channels, particularly of the K(v) and BK(Ca) types and to a lesser extent the K(ATP) type. This causes K+ efflux and consequently cell death (Naghmouchi et al., 2008). Class III and IV bacteriocins (Klaenhammer, 1993) are large heat-labile proteins that function by mechanisms unrelated to those of the bacteriocins listed here.

The generalized transport reaction catalyzed by channel-forming amphipathic peptides is:

small solutes, electrolytes and water (in) small solutes, electrolytes and water (out).


This family belongs to the: Bacterial Bacteriocin (BB) Superfamily.

References associated with 1.C.24 family:

Allison, G.E., C. Fremaux, and T.R. Klaenhammer. (1994). Expansion of bacteriocin activity and host range upon complementation of two peptides encoded within the lactacin F operon. J. Bacteriol. 176: 2235-2241. 8157592
Diep, D.B., L.S. Håvarstein, and I.F. Nes. (1995). A bacteriocin-like peptide induces bacteriocin synthesis in Lactobacillus plantarum C11. Mol. Microbiol. 18: 631-639. 8817486
Drider D., G. Fimland, Y. Héchard, L.M. McMullen, H. Prévost. (2006). The continuing story of class IIa bacteriocins. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 70: 564-582. 16760314
Ennahar, S., T. Sashihara, K. Sonomoto, and A. Ishizaki. (2000). Class IIa bacteriocins: biosynthesis, structure, and activity. FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 24: 85-106. 10640600
Ferchichi, M., J. Frère, K. Mabrouk, and M. Manai. (2001). Lactococcin MMFII, a novel class IIa bacteriocin produced by Lactococcus lactis MMFII, isolated from a Tunisian dairy product. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 205: 49-55. 11728715
Fimland, G., L. Johnsen, L. Axelsson, M.B. Brurberg, I.F. Nes, V.G.H. Eijsink, and J. Nissen-Meyer. (2000). A C-terminal disulfide bridge in pediocin-like bacteriocins renders bacteriocin activity less temperature dependent and is a major determnant of the antimicrobial spectrum. J. Bacteriol. 182: 2643-2648. 10762272
Haugen, H.S., P.E. Kristiansen, G. Fimland, and J. Nissen-Meyer. (2008). Mutational analysis of the class IIa bacteriocin curvacin A and its orientation in target cell membranes. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74: 6766-6773. 18791005
Heng, N.C., G.A. Burtenshaw, R.W. Jack, and J.R. Tagg. (2007). Ubericin A, a class IIa bacteriocin produced by Streptococcus uberis . Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 73: 7763-7766. 17933926
Kaiser, A.L. and T.J. Montville. (1996). Purification of the bacteriocin bavaricin MN and characterization of its mode of action against Listeria monocytogenes Scott A cells and lipid vesicles. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62: 4529-4535. 8953724
Klaenhammer, T.R. (1993). Genetics of bacteriocins produced by lactic acid bacteria. FEMS Microbiol. Rev. 12: 39-85. 8398217
Moll, G.N., W.N. Konings, and A.J.M. Driessen. (1999). Bacteriocins: mechanism of membrane insertion and pore formation. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 76: 185-198. 10532378
Naghmouchi, K., D. Drider, R. Hammami, and I. Fliss. (2008). Effect of Antimicrobial Peptides Divergicin M35 and Nisin A on Listeria monocytogenes LSD530 Potassium Channels. Curr. Microbiol. 56: 609-612. 18379845
Nes I.F., D.B. Diep, H. Holo H. (2007). Bacteriocin diversity in Streptococcus and Enterococcus. J Bacteriol. 189: 1189-1198. 17098898
Nes, I.F., D.B. Diep, L.S. Håvarstein, M.B. Brurberg, V. Eijsink, and H. Holo. (1996). Biosynthesis of bacteriocins in lactic acid bacteria. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 70: 113-128. 8879403
Sahl, H.-G. and G. Bierbaum. (1998). Lantibiotics: biosynthesis and biological activities of uniquely modified peptides from Gram-positive bacteria. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 52: 41-79. 9891793
Tomita, H., E. Kamei, and Y. Ike. (2008). Cloning and genetic analyses of the bacteriocin 41 determinant encoded on the Enterococcus faecalis pheromone-responsive conjugative plasmid pYI14: a novel bacteriocin complemented by two extracellular components (lysin and activator). J. Bacteriol. 190: 2075-2085. 18203826
Venema, K., G. Venema, and J. Kok. (1995). Lactococcal bacteriocins: mode of action and immunity. Trends Microbiol. 3: 299-304. 8528613
Venema, K., J. Kok, J.D. Marugg, M.Y. Toonen, A.M. Ledeboer, G. Venema, and M.L. Chikindas. (1995). Functional analysis of the pediocin operon of Pediococcus acidilactici PAC1.0: PedB is the immunity protein and PedD is the precursor processing enzyme. Mol. Microbiol. 17: 515-522. 8559070