Regulatory roles of spnT, a novel gene located within transposon TnTIR

Jun Rong Wei, Po Chi Soo, Yu Tze Horng, Shang Chen Hsieh, Yu Huan Tsai, Simon Swift, Helen Withers, Paul Williams, Hsin Chih Lai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The transposon TnTIR contains spnIR quorum-sensing system regulating sliding motility and the production of nuclease, biosurfactant, and prodigiosin in Serratia marcescens. Within TnTIR, a gene named spnT is upstream of and co-transcribed with spnI. SpnT is a cytoplasmic protein and its level peaks during early stationary phase. spnT over-expression resulted in inhibition of sliding motility and synthesis of prodigiosin, and biosurfactant similar to spnR. spnT but not spnR over-expression induced cell elongation and aberrant DNA replication in S. marcescens and Escherichia coli strains. In comparison with wild-type E. coli strain, over-expression of spnT in an E. coli priA and dnaC double-mutant strain did not lead to the aberrant cell morphology phenotypes, suggesting SpnT may act through the recombination-dependent DNA replication system. As spnT over-expression inhibited swarming but not swimming motility, SpnT may indirectly function as a negative regulator of surface-dependent migration and secondary metabolite production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1046
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 29 Sep 2006


  • DNA replication
  • Quorum-sensing
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Sliding
  • SpnT


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