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Microbiology. 2005 Nov;151(Pt 11):3589-602.

The LuxR receptor: the sites of interaction with quorum-sensing signals and inhibitors.

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Center for Biomedical Microbiology, BioCentrum-DTU, Building 301, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Lyngby, Denmark.


The function of LuxR homologues as quorum sensors is mediated by the binding of N-acyl-L-homoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules to the N-terminal receptor site of the proteins. In this study, site-directed mutagenesis was carried out of the amino acid residues comprising the receptor site of LuxR from Vibrio fischeri, and the ability of the L42A, L42S, Y62F, W66F, D79N, W94D, V109D, V109T and M135A LuxR mutant proteins to activate green fluorescent protein expression from a P(luxI) promoter was measured. X-ray crystallographic studies of the LuxR homologue TraR indicated that residues Y53 and W57 form hydrogen bonds to the 1-carbonyl group and the ring carbonyl group, respectively, of the cognate AHL signal. Based on the activity and signal specificity of the LuxR mutant proteins, and on molecular modelling, a model is suggested in which Y62 (corresponding to Y53 in TraR) forms a hydrogen bond with the ring carbonyl group rather than the 1-carbonyl group, while W66 (corresponding to W57 in TraR) forms a hydrogen bond to the 1-carbonyl group. This flips the position of the acyl side chain in the LuxR/signal molecule complex compared to the TraR/signal molecule complex. Halogenated furanones from the marine alga Delisea pulchra and the synthetic signal analogue N-(sulfanylacetyl)-L-homoserine lactone can block quorum sensing. The LuxR mutant proteins were insensitive to inhibition by N-(propylsulfanylacetyl)-L-homoserine lactone. In contrast, the mutations had only a minor effect on the sensitivity of the proteins to halogenated furanones, and the data strongly suggest that these compounds do not compete in a 'classic' way with N-3-oxohexanoyl-L-homoserine lactone for the binding site. Based on modelling and experimental data it is suggested that these compounds bind in a non-agonist fashion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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