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J Bacteriol. 2005 Mar;187(6):2066-76.

Cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cAMP receptor protein influence both synthesis and uptake of extracellular autoinducer 2 in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Center for Biosystems Research, University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Bacterial autoinducer 2 (AI-2) is proposed to be an interspecies mediator of cell-cell communication that enables cells to operate at the multicellular level. Many environmental stimuli have been shown to affect the extracellular AI-2 levels, carbon sources being among the most important. In this report, we show that both AI-2 synthesis and uptake in Escherichia coli are subject to catabolite repression through the cyclic AMP (cAMP)-CRP complex, which directly stimulates transcription of the lsr (for "luxS regulated") operon and indirectly represses luxS expression. Specifically, cAMP-CRP is shown to bind to a CRP binding site located in the upstream region of the lsr promoter and works with the LsrR repressor to regulate AI-2 uptake. The functions of the lsr operon and its regulators, LsrR and LsrK, previously reported in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, are confirmed here for E. coli. The elucidation of cAMP-CRP involvement in E. coli autoinduction impacts many areas, including the growth of E. coli in fermentation processes.

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