Chapter 12 : Quorum Sensing in the Soft-Rot Erwinias

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One of the first bacterial species for which -acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) quorum sensing (QS) was described was . Since then, QS has been well studied in the soft-rot erwinias, where, as described in this chapter, QS plays a key role in the regulation of secreted plant cell wall-degrading enzymes (PCWDEs) production and hence in virulence. In certain strains, a well-defined AHL QS system also controls production of β-lactam antibiotic, carbapenem. In addition, it must be emphasized that QS is only one of many regulatory inputs into virulence factor production in . The majority of the key secreted virulence factors of and , including multiple Pels, Peh, Cel, and Svx, are secreted by a type II secretion system known as the Out system. There have been two reports describing the existence of AHL QS in . First, production of a single AHL, most likely 3-oxo-C-HSL, was described for several Italian strains of ; for one strain, production of AHL was observed in planta. Second, AHL activity was detected in the culture supernatant of a Swiss strain of . Both reports describe the detection and partial sequencing of pairs of convergent homologues, named .

Citation: Coulthurst S, Monson R, Salmond G. 2008. Quorum Sensing in the Soft-Rot Erwinias, p 185-199. In Winans S, Bassler B (ed), Chemical Communication among Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815578.ch12
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Regulation of carbapenem antibiotic (Car) production by AHL QS in subsp. ATCC 39048. The signaling molecule, 3-oxo-C-HSL, is synthesized by CarI. At low cell densities (top), 3-oxo-CHSL diffuses away from the cell and CarR is in a transcriptionally inactive state. The gene cluster is not transcribed from the QS-dependent promoter (P) upstream of hence, no antibiotic is produced, but the resistance functions, encoded by are expressed from the internal promoter (P). At high cell densities (bottom), a high concentration of 3-oxo-C-HSL is achieved and CarR binds 3-oxo-C-HSL, making it competent to activate transcription of the genes from P and also to upregulate its own transcription. As a result, Car antibiotic is produced. The regulator Hor is also required for expression and other regulatory inputs are indicated: expression is dependent on carbon source and possibly also downregulated in the presence of high 3-oxo-C-HSL levels; temperature affects transcription and probably also affects expression on a posttranscriptional level. Arrows with “+” indicate positive regulation, and flattened arrowhead indicates repression. Refer to text and references and for details.

Citation: Coulthurst S, Monson R, Salmond G. 2008. Quorum Sensing in the Soft-Rot Erwinias, p 185-199. In Winans S, Bassler B (ed), Chemical Communication among Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815578.ch12
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Image of FIGURE 2

Model for the regulation of virulence factor production by AHL QS in At low cell density (top), ExpI synthesizes the AHL signaling molecule, 3-oxo-C-HSL, which diffuses into the environment. VirR, the cognate LuxR homologue, is expressed constitutively and may directly repress expression of PCWDEs. RsmA is activated by VirR and itself represses expression of and PCWDEs. At high cell density, high concentrations of 3-oxo-C HSL are achieved and the signal binds to VirR. This causes derepression and allows expression of PCWDEs and . The untranslated RNA further sequesters RsmA in the cell, thus immediately affecting PCWDE expression in a cell-density-dependent manner.

Citation: Coulthurst S, Monson R, Salmond G. 2008. Quorum Sensing in the Soft-Rot Erwinias, p 185-199. In Winans S, Bassler B (ed), Chemical Communication among Bacteria. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555815578.ch12
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