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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Aug;68(8):4111-6.

Possible quorum sensing in marine snow bacteria: production of acylated homoserine lactones by Roseobacter strains isolated from marine snow.

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Department of Seafood Research, Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark.


We report here, for the first time, that bacteria associated with marine snow produce communication signals involved in quorum sensing in gram-negative bacteria. Four of 43 marine microorganisms isolated from marine snow were found to produce acylated homoserine lactones (AHLs) in well diffusion and thin-layer chromatographic assays based on the Agrobacterium tumefaciens reporter system. Three of the AHL-producing strains were identified by 16S ribosomal DNA gene sequence analysis as Roseobacter spp., and this is the first report of AHL production by these alpha-PROTEOBACTERIA: It is likely that AHLs in Roseobacter species and other marine snow bacteria govern phenotypic traits (biofilm formation, exoenzyme production, and antibiotic production) which are required mainly when the population reaches high densities, e.g., in the marine snow community.

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