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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2011 Apr;14(2):188-93. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2011.01.006. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Detection of acyl-homoserine lactones by Escherichia and Salmonella.

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Department of Microbiology, Ohio State University, 484 West 12th Avenue, 376 Biological Sciences Building, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Escherichia and Salmonella do not synthesize quorum-sensing signaling molecules of the N-acyl-l-homoserine lactone (AHL) type but they can detect AHLs produced by other species of bacteria. AHLs are present in the bovine rumen but not in the remainder of the gastrointestinal tract. Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) responds to AHLs extracted from the bovine rumen. Salmonella fails to detect AHLs in the gastrointestinal tracts of pathogen-free mice or pigs, suggesting that AHLs are not present. However, Salmonella does detect the AHL production of Yersinia enterocolitica in mouse Peyer's patches. In response to AHLs, EHEC represses flagellar genes and the LEE pathogenicity island while it activates the acid fitness island, whereas Salmonella activates the rck operon and a gene, srgE, encoding a putative Type III secreted effector.

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