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BMC Microbiol. 2008 Jan 23;8:13. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-8-13.

Potential for luxS related signalling in marine bacteria and production of autoinducer-2 in the genus Shewanella.

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  • 1Helmholtz-Center for Infection Research, Group Microbial Communication, Division of Cell Biology, Inhoffenstr, 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. agb@gbf.de

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The autoinducer-2 (AI-2) group of signalling molecules are produced by both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria as the by-product of a metabolic transformation carried out by the LuxS enzyme. They are the only non species-specific quorum sensing compounds presently known in bacteria. The luxS gene coding for the AI-2 synthase enzyme was found in many important pathogens. Here, we surveyed its occurrence in a collection of 165 marine isolates belonging to abundant marine phyla using conserved degenerated PCR primers and sequencing of selected positive bands to determine if the presence of the luxS gene is phylogenetically conserved or dependent on the habitat.

RESULTS:

The luxS gene was not present in any of the Alphaproteobacteria (n = 71) and Bacteroidetes strains (n = 29) tested; by contrast, these bacteria harboured the sahH gene, coding for an alternative enzyme for the detoxification of S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) in the activated methyl cycle. Within the Gammaproteobacteria (n = 76), luxS was found in all Shewanella, Vibrio and Alteromonas isolates and some Pseudoalteromonas and Halomonas species, while sahH was detected in Psychrobacter strains. A number of Gammaproteobacteria (n = 27) appeared to have neither the luxS nor the sahH gene. We then studied the production of AI-2 in the genus Shewanella using the Vibrio harveyi bioassay. All ten species of Shewanella tested produced a pronounced peak of AI-2 towards the end of the exponential growth phase in several media investigated. The maximum of AI-2 activity was different in each Shewanella species, ranging from 4% to 46% of the positive control.

CONCLUSION:

The data are consistent with those of fully sequenced bacterial genomes and show that the potential for luxS related signalling is dependent on phylogenetic affiliation rather than ecological niche and is largest in certain groups of Gammaproteobacteria in the marine environment. This is the first report on AI-2 production in Shewanella species; its signalling role in these organisms remains to be elucidated.

PMID:
18215278
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2233627
Free PMC Article
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