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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jan 4;91(1):197-201.

Structure of the autoinducer required for expression of Pseudomonas aeruginosa virulence genes.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


In Pseudomonas aeruginosa the LasR protein is required for activation of lasB and several other virulence genes. A diffusible signal molecule, the P. aeruginosa autoinducer (PAI), produced by the bacterial cell and released into the growth medium, is required for activity of LasR. By cloning a lasB::lacZ fusion and a lasR gene under control of the lac promoter in Escherichia coli, we have developed a quantitative bioassay for PAI. We have used this assay to follow the purification of PAI from cell-free culture supernatant fluids in which P. aeruginosa or E. coli containing the P. aeruginosa gene required for autoinducer synthesis, lasI, had been grown. Chemical analyses indicated the purified material was 3-oxo-N-(tetrahydro-2-oxo-3-furanyl)dodecanamide. To confirm this assignment, the compound was synthesized and the synthetic compound was shown to have chemical and biological properties identical to those of PAI purified from culture supernatant fluids. The elucidation of the PAI structure suggests therapeutic approaches toward control of P. aeruginosa infections.

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