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BMC Evol Biol. 2004 Sep 29;4:36.

Is autoinducer-2 a universal signal for interspecies communication: a comparative genomic and phylogenetic analysis of the synthesis and signal transduction pathways.

Author information

1
Department of Genome Analysis, GBF - German Research Center for Biotechnology, Braunschweig, Germany. jsu@gbf.de <jsu@gbf.de>

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Quorum sensing is a process of bacterial cell-to-cell communication involving the production and detection of extracellular signaling molecules called autoinducers. Recently, it has been proposed that autoinducer-2 (AI-2), a furanosyl borate diester derived from the recycling of S-adenosyl-homocysteine (SAH) to homocysteine, serves as a universal signal for interspecies communication.

RESULTS:

In this study, 138 completed genomes were examined for the genes involved in the synthesis and detection of AI-2. Except for some symbionts and parasites, all organisms have a pathway to recycle SAH, either using a two-step enzymatic conversion by the Pfs and LuxS enzymes or a one-step conversion using SAH-hydrolase (SahH). 51 organisms including most Gamma-, Beta-, and Epsilonproteobacteria, and Firmicutes possess the Pfs-LuxS pathway, while Archaea, Eukarya, Alphaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Cyanobacteria prefer the SahH pathway. In all 138 organisms, only the three Vibrio strains had strong, bidirectional matches to the periplasmic AI-2 binding protein LuxP and the central signal relay protein LuxU. The initial two-component sensor kinase protein LuxQ, and the terminal response regulator luxO are found in most Proteobacteria, as well as in some Firmicutes, often in several copies.

CONCLUSIONS:

The genomic analysis indicates that the LuxS enzyme required for AI-2 synthesis is widespread in bacteria, while the periplasmic binding protein LuxP is only present in Vibrio strains. Thus, other organisms may either use components different from the AI-2 signal transduction system of Vibrio strains to sense the signal of AI-2, or they do not have such a quorum sensing system at all.

PMID:
15456522
PMCID:
PMC524169
DOI:
10.1186/1471-2148-4-36
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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