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Infect Immun. 2005 Aug;73(8):4982-92.

Characterization of the cciIR quorum-sensing system in Burkholderia cenocepacia.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Calgary Health Sciences Centre, 3330 Hospital Dr. N.W., Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 4N1.


Several transmissible Burkholderia cenocepacia strains that infect multiple cystic fibrosis patients contain a genomic island designated as the cenocepacia island (cci). The cci contains a predicted N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) synthase gene, cciI, and a predicted response regulator gene, cciR. AHL production profiles indicated that CciI catalyzes the synthesis of N-hexanoyl-l-homoserine lactone and minor amounts of N-octanoyl-l-homoserine lactone. The cciI and cciR genes were found to be cotranscribed by reverse transcription-PCR analysis, and the expression of a cciIR::luxCDABE fusion in a cciR mutant suggested that the cciIR system negatively regulates its own expression. B. cenocepacia strains also have a cepIR quorum-sensing system. Expression of cepI::luxCDABE or cepR::luxCDABE fusions in a cciR mutant showed that CciR negatively regulates cepI but does not regulate cepR. Expression of the cciIR::luxCDABE fusion in a cepR mutant indicated that functional CepR is required for cciIR expression. Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the cciIR system was acquired by horizontal gene transfer from a distantly related organism and subsequently incorporated into the ancestral cepIR regulatory network. Mutations in cciI, cciR, cepI cciI, and cepR cciR were constructed in B. cenocepacia K56-2. The cciI mutant had greater protease activity and less swarming motility than the parent strain. The cciR mutant had less protease activity than the parent strain. The phenotypes of the cepI cciI and cepR cciR mutants were similar to cepI or cepR mutants, with less protease activity and swarming motility than the parent strain.

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