Chapter 8 : Metabolites as Intercellular Signals for Regulation of Community-Level Traits

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This chapter describes work on new and emerging systems that describe roles for excreted cellular metabolites as intercellular signals. The therapeutic value of antibiotics is unquestionable; however, understanding the biological role of these compounds in natural settings may not be as intuitive as the definition of antibiotics would suggest. Increases in biofilm formation were correlated with a 10-fold increase in expression of the operon upon treatment with antibiotic. The internal concentration of polyamines is tightly regulated through a combination of biosynthesis, transport, and excretion. In , putrescine is synthesized either by decarboxylation of L-ornithine or decarboxylation of Larginine followed by removal of a urea molecule. is known to make and excrete both monorhamnolipids (mono-RHLs) and dirhamnolipids (di-RHLs), which have either one or two attached rhamnose groups, respectively. In , indole is imported from the extracellular environment predominantly by the Mtr permease whereas efflux of indole out of the cell is performed by the AcrEF pump. The chapter provides evidence that supports the role of various metabolites in the regulation of community-level traits, such as biofilm formation, swarming, and filamentation.

Citation: Monds R, O’Toole G. 2008. Metabolites as Intercellular Signals for Regulation of Community-Level Traits, p 105-129. In Winans S, Bassler B (ed), Chemical Communication among Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815578.ch8

Key Concept Ranking

Heterocyclic Compounds
Cellular Processes
Antimicrobial Peptides
Amino Acids
Cell Division
Signal Molecules
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