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J Bacteriol. 2003 Feb;185(4):1357-66.

Detection of other microbial species by Salmonella: expression of the SdiA regulon.

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Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus Ohio 43210, USA.


Salmonella, Escherichia, and Klebsiella do not encode any recognized type of N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) synthase, and consistent with this, they do not synthesize AHLs under any conditions tested. However, they do encode an AHL receptor of the LuxR family, named SdiA. MudJ fusions in four loci are known to respond to plasmid-encoded sdiA in Salmonella, but only the rck locus has been described. Here we report the location and sequence analysis of the remaining three loci. The srg-6::MudJ is within gtgA of the gifsy-2 prophage, and the srg-7::MudJ is within PSLT61 of the virulence plasmid. Both fusions are in the antisense orientation. The third fusion, srgE5::MudJ, is within a horizontally acquired gene of unknown function at 33.6 centisomes that we have named srgE. Previously, sdiA expressed from its natural position in the chromosome was demonstrated to activate a plasmid-based transcriptional fusion to the rck promoter in response to AHL production by other bacterial species. However, the MudJ fusions did not respond to chromosomal sdiA. Here we report that MudJ fusions to three of the four loci (not srg-6) are activated by AHL in an sdiA-dependent manner during growth in motility agar (0.25% agar) but not during growth in top agar (0.7% agar) or on agar plates (1.2% agar). In motility agar, the srgE promoter responds to sdiA at 30 degrees C and higher while the rck and srg-7 promoters respond only at 37 or 42 degrees C. Substantial AHL-independent SdiA activity was observed at 30 degrees C but not at 37 degrees C.

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