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Cell Host Microbe. 2007 Jun 14;1(4):299-308.

The Bacillus subtilis quorum-sensing molecule CSF contributes to intestinal homeostasis via OCTN2, a host cell membrane transporter.

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  • 1Martin Boyer Laboratories, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Bacteria use quorum-sensing molecules (QSMs) to communicate within as well as across species. However, the effects of QSMs on eukaryotic host cells have received limited attention. We report that the quorum-sensing pentapeptide, competence and sporulation factor (CSF), of the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis activates key survival pathways, including p38 MAP kinase and protein kinase B (Akt), in intestinal epithelial cells. CSF also induces cytoprotective heat shock proteins (Hsps), which prevent oxidant-induced intestinal epithelial cell injury and loss of barrier function. These effects of CSF depend on its uptake by an apical membrane organic cation transporter-2 (OCTN2). Thus, OCTN2-mediated CSF transport serves as an example of a host-bacterial interaction that allows the host to monitor and respond to changes in the behavior or composition of colonic flora.

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