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Environ Microbiol. 2008 Mar;10(3):560-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2007.01475.x. Epub 2008 Jan 7.

A metagenomic analysis of soil bacteria extends the diversity of quorum-quenching lactonases.

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1
Institut des Sciences du Végétal, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UPR2355, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Abstract

A metagenomic library of 10,121 clones, generated from bacteria inhabiting a pasture soil from France, was screened for the presence of fosmids conferring either N-acylhomoserine lactone (NAHL) synthesis or NAHL degradation ability upon their Escherichia coli host. No clone producing NAHLs was identified whereas one, containing a 31 972 bp insert in fosmid p2H8, allowed NAHL degradation. This led to the cloning and identification of a gene, qlcA, encoding an NAHL-lactonase activity, as judged by lactone-ring closure and HPLC/MS analyses of NAHL degradation products. The qlcA gene efficiently quenched quorum-sensing regulated pathogenic functions when expressed in Pectobacterium carotovorum. The QlcA peptide belongs to the family of zinc-dependent metallohydrolases and appears to be distantly related to other NAHL-lactonases discovered in Agrobacterium, Bacillus, Photorhabdus and Rhizobium. In-silico analysis of the metagenomic insert revealed the occurrence of 20 orf, with a constant GC% and codon usage, suggesting a unique bacterial origin. Nine out of these 20 orf were homologous to genes encoding biosynthesis of arginine; they were clustered with an unusual succession argFJADBCRGH. The fosmid p2H8 is able to complement the argA, argB and argC mutants in E. coli. Phylogenetic analysis showed that 9 orf out of 20 were related to sequences from members of the Acidobacteria, supporting the hypothesis that the analysed insert might be originated from an organism related to this phylum.

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