Lack of the consensus sequence necessary for tryptophan prenylation in the ComX pheromone precursor

Fumitada Tsuji, Ayako Ishihara, Aya Nakagawa, Masahiro Okada, Shigeyuki Kitamura, Kyoko Kanamaru, Yuichi Masuda, Kazuma Murakami, Kazuhiro Irie, Youji Sakagami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


ComX, an oligopeptide pheromone that stimulates the natural genetic competence controlled by quorum sensing in Bacillus subtilis and related bacilli, contains a prenyl-modified tryptophan residue. Since ComX is the only protein known to contain prenylated tryptophan, the universality of this unique posttranslational modification has yet to be determined. Recently, we developed a cell-free assay system in which the tryptophan residue in the ComX RO-E-2 pheromone precursor derived from B. subtilis strain RO-E-2 can be geranylated by the ComQRO-E-2 enzyme. We report here our attempt to identify the consensus sequence surrounding the geranylated tryptophan residue by using the cellfree system with various ComXRO-E-2 pheromone precursor analogs. We found that [47-58]ComXRO-E-2, corresponding to the C-terminal 12-residue peptide of the pheromone precursor, contained a short sequence essential for geranylation. We also found that the length of the sequence between the tryptophan residue and the C-terminus was important for geranylation, and that some [47-58]ComXRO-E-2 pheromone precursor amino acids were involved in the geranylation reaction. However, we could not identify a consensus sequence surrounding the geranylated tryptophan. Our evidence suggests that, like Rab which lacks a consensus sequence yet is geranylgeranyl-modified on a cysteine residue, the ComX pheromone and its precursor also lack a consensus sequence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1492-1496
Number of pages5
JournalBioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacillus subtilis
  • ComX pheromone
  • Post-translational modification
  • Prenylation
  • Prenyltransferase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Organic Chemistry


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