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Chapter 4 : Quorum Sensing

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Abstract:

This chapter focuses on quorum sensing in gram-negative bacteria with a special emphasis on the well-studied intercellular communication network found in . At least 22 gram-negative species have been shown to utilize an acyl-homoserine lactone based quorum sensing system to control various genes, and more than 50 different species have been shown to produce an acyl-homoserine lactone type of cell-to-cell signal. One of the more well-studied pathogens in this group is , which contains two separate quorum sensing systems. The study of quorum sensing in began when it was discovered that the production of the virulence factor elastase was controlled by LasR, a homolog of LuxR. The genetic organization of the quorum sensing system is also similar to the quorum sensing system. Evidence for the importance of quorum sensing in infections was also found by randomly mutagenizing the wild-type strain PA14 in search of virulence factors. A popular theory is that delaying the production of certain virulence factors may allow to face a lesser immune response while its population builds. Biofilm formation is believed to be a critical step in the disease produced when chronically infects the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis. The authors hope the understanding of quorum sensing will provide the background for the development of new and effective antimicrobial therapies that will provide much needed options for the treatment of bacterial infections.

Citation: Pesci E, Iglewski B. 2003. Quorum Sensing, p 55-65. In Burns D, Barbieri J, Iglewski B, Rappuoli R (ed), Bacterial Protein Toxins. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817893.ch4

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Quorum Sensing
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Figures

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Figure 1

General model for gram-negative quorum sensing. On the left side of the figure, a cell from a dilute bacterial population is shown. Both the autoinducer and the R-protein are produced at a basal level. The autoinducer freely diffuses across the cell envelope to reach a concentration equilibrium between the internal and external environments. If a population of bacteria is growing within a defined space, such as a light organ of a fish or a macrocolony in a host lung, then the autoinducer concentration will increase with cell density. This situation is depicted on the right side of the figure. When the autoinducer reaches a threshold level, it will interact with the R-protein. When this occurs, the R-protein/autoinducer complex will then bind to and thereby activate specific gene promoters.

Citation: Pesci E, Iglewski B. 2003. Quorum Sensing, p 55-65. In Burns D, Barbieri J, Iglewski B, Rappuoli R (ed), Bacterial Protein Toxins. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817893.ch4
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

Quorum sensing in P. aeruginosa. The P. aeruginosa signaling cascade begins with positive control of LasR by Vfr, GacA, and PPK. This presumably occurs at a time when 3-oxo-C12-HSL has accumulated to a level where it will bind LasR. Upon this happening, numerous genes are induced by LasR-3-oxo-C12-HSL. Among these are those that encode for RhlR and an enzyme responsible for PQS production. The production of RhlR and PQS leads to an up-regulation of the rhl quorum sensing system, which functions through the signal C4-HSL. Upon the interaction of RhlR and C4-HSL, the genes controlled by rhl quorum sensing are induced and the cascade is complete. The asterisk in the gene list indicates that an estimated 3 to 4% of the genes in the genome are believed to be controlled by quorum sensing (11).

Citation: Pesci E, Iglewski B. 2003. Quorum Sensing, p 55-65. In Burns D, Barbieri J, Iglewski B, Rappuoli R (ed), Bacterial Protein Toxins. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817893.ch4
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Image of Figure 3
Figure 3

The intercellular signals of . The chemical structures of the three major signals utilized by are shown. (A) 3-oxo-C-HSL; (B) C-HSL; (C) PQS.

Citation: Pesci E, Iglewski B. 2003. Quorum Sensing, p 55-65. In Burns D, Barbieri J, Iglewski B, Rappuoli R (ed), Bacterial Protein Toxins. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817893.ch4
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References

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1. Bassler, B. L., 1999. A multichannel two-component signaling relay controls quorum sensing in Vibrio harveyi, p. 259273. In G. M. Dunny, and S. C. Winans (ed.), Cell- Cell Signaling in Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, D.C.
2. Calfee, M. W.,, J. P. Coleman,, and E. C. Pesci. 2001. Interference with Pseudomonas quinolone signal synthesis inhibits virulence factor expression by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98:1163311637.
3. Chen, X.,, S. Schauder,, N. Potier,, A. Van Dorsselaer,, I. Pelczer,, B. L. Bassler,, and F. M. Hughson. 2002. Structural identification of a bacterial quorum-sensing signal containing boron. Nature 415:545549.
4. de Kievit, T. R.,, and B. H. Iglewski. 2000. Bacterial quorum sensing in pathogenic relationships. Infect. Immun. 68:48394849.
5. Fuqua, C.,, M. R. Parsek,, and E. P. Greenberg. 2001. Regulation of gene expression by cell to cell communication: acyl-homoserine lactone quorum sensing. Annu. Rev. Genet. 35:439468.
6. Fuqua, W. C.,, S. C. Winans,, and E. P. Greenberg. 1996. Census and consensus in bacterial ecosystems: the LuxR-LuxI family of quorum-sensing transcriptional regulators. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 50:727751.
7. Gallagher, L. A.,, and C. Manoil. 2001. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 kills Caenorhabditis elegans by cyanide poisoning. J. Bacteriol. 183:62076214.
8. Miller, M. B.,, and B. L. Bassler. 2001. Quorum sensing in bacteria. Annu. Rev. Microbiol. 55:165199.
9. Pesci, E. C.,, and B. H. Iglewski,. 1999. Quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, p. 147155. In G. M. Dunny, and S. C. Winans (ed.), Cell-Cell Signaling in Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, D.C.
10. Van Delden, C.,, and B. H. Iglewski. 1998. Cell-to-cell signaling and Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 4:551560.
11. Whiteley, M.,, K. M. Lee,, and E. P. Greenberg. 1999. Identification of genes controlled by quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96:1390413909.

Tables

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Table 1

Genes controlled by quorum sensing in

Citation: Pesci E, Iglewski B. 2003. Quorum Sensing, p 55-65. In Burns D, Barbieri J, Iglewski B, Rappuoli R (ed), Bacterial Protein Toxins. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817893.ch4

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