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Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2006 Mar;19(3):227-39.

Long- and short-chain plant-produced bacterial N-acyl-homoserine lactones become components of phyllosphere, rhizosphere, and soil.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY 14623, USA.


Two N-acyl-homoserine lactone (acyl-HSL) synthase genes, lasI from Pseudomonas aeruginosa and yenI from Yersinia enterocolitica, were introduced into tobacco, individually and in combination. Liquid chromatograph-tandem mass spectrometry and thin-layer chromatography confirmed products of lasI and yenI activity in single and cotransformants. Cotransformants expressing plastid-localized LasI and YenI synthases produced the major acyl-HSLs for each synthase in all tissues tested. Total acyl-HSL signals accumulated in leaf tissue up to 3 pmol/mg of fresh weight, half as much in stem tissue, and approximately 10-fold less in root tissues. Acyl-HSLs were present in aqueous leaf washes from greenhouse-grown transgenic plants. Transgenic lines grown for 14 days under axenic conditions produced detectable levels of acyl-HSLs in root exudates. Ethyl acetate extractions of rhizosphere and nonrhizosphere soil from transgenically grown plants contained active acyl-HSLs, whereas plant-free soil or rhizosphere and nonrhizosphere soil from wild-type plants lacked detectable amounts of acyl-HSLs. This work shows that bioactive acyl-HSLs are exuded from leaves and roots and accumulate in the phytosphere of plants engineered to produce acyl-HSLs. These data further suggest that plants that are bioengineered to synthesize acyl-HSLs can foster beneficial plant-bacteria communications or deter deleterious interactions. Therefore, it is feasible to use bioengineered plants to supplement soils with specific acyl-HSLs to modulate bacterial phenotypes and plant-associated bacterial community structures.

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