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Mol Microbiol. 2004 Jun;52(6):1677-89.

A distinctive dual-channel quorum-sensing system operates in Vibrio anguillarum.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University, S-901 87 Umeå, Sweden.


Many bacterial cells communicate using diffusible signal molecules to monitor cell population density via a process termed quorum sensing. In marine Vibrio species, the Vibrio harveyi-type LuxR protein is a key player in a quorum-sensing phosphorelay cascade, which controls the expression of virulence, symbiotic and survival genes. Previously, we characterized Vibrio anguillarum homologues of LuxR (VanT) and LuxMN (VanMN) and, in this study, we have identified homologues of LuxPQ (VanPQ) and LuxOU (VanOU). In contrast to other Vibrio species, vanT was expressed at low cell density and showed no significant induction as the cell number increased. In addition, although the loss of VanO increased vanT expression, the loss of VanU, unexpectedly, decreased it. Both VanN and VanQ were required for repression of vanT even in a vanU mutant, suggesting an alternative route for VanNQ signal transduction other than via VanU. VanT negatively regulated its own expression by binding and repressing the vanT promoter and by binding and activating the vanOU promoter. The signal relay results in a cellular response as expression of the metalloprotease, empA, was altered similar to that of vanT in all the mutants. Consequently, the V. anguillarum quorum-sensing phosphorelay systems work differently from those of V. harveyi and may be used to limit rather than induce vanT expression.

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