Send to

Choose Destination
FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2003 Jul 1;45(1):71-81. doi: 10.1016/S0168-6496(03)00125-9.

Degradation of pathogen quorum-sensing molecules by soil bacteria: a preventive and curative biological control mechanism.

Author information

Phytopathology group, Institute for Plant Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Universitätstrasse 2, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland.


The plasmid pME6863, carrying the aiiA gene from the soil bacterium Bacillus sp. A24 that encodes a lactonase enzyme able to degrade N-acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs), was introduced into the rhizosphere isolate Pseudomonas fluorescens P3. This strain is not an effective biological control agent against plant pathogens. The transformant P. fluorescens P3/pME6863 acquired the ability to degrade AHLs. In planta, P. fluorescens P3/pME6863 significantly reduced potato soft rot caused by Erwinia carotovora and crown gall of tomato caused by Agrobacterium tumefaciens to a similar level as Bacillus sp. A24. Little or no disease reduction was observed for the wild-type strain P3 carrying the vector plasmid without aiiA. Suppression of potato soft rot was observed even when the AHL-degrading P. fluorescens P3/pME6863 was applied to tubers 2 days after the pathogen, indicating that biocontrol was not only preventive but also curative. When antagonists were applied individually with the bacterial plant pathogens, biocontrol activity of the AHL degraders was greater than that observed with several Pseudomonas 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol-producing strains and with Pseudomonas chlororaphis PCL1391, which relies on production of phenazine antibiotic for disease suppression. Phenazine production by this well characterized biological control strain P. chlororaphis PCL1391 is regulated by AHL-mediated quorum sensing. When P. chlororaphis PCL1391 was co-inoculated with P. fluorescens P3/pME6863 in a strain mixture, the AHL degrader interfered with the normally excellent ability of the antibiotic producer to suppress tomato vascular wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. Our results demonstrate AHL degradation as a novel biocontrol mechanism, but also demonstrate the potential for non-target interactions that can interfere with the biocontrol efficacy of other strains.

Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center