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Environ Microbiol Rep. 2011 Dec;3(6):698-704. doi: 10.1111/j.1758-2229.2011.00284.x. Epub 2011 Oct 26.

Quorum-sensing quenching by rhizobacterial volatiles.

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Otto Warburg Center for Agricultural Biotechnology, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot 76100, Israel. Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 123182, Russia.


We show that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by rhizospheric strains Pseudomonas fluorescens B-4117 and Serratia plymuthica IC1270 may act as inhibitors of the cell-cell communication quorum-sensing (QS) network mediated by N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules produced by various bacteria, including strains of Agrobacterium, Chromobacterium, Pectobacterium and Pseudomonas. This quorum-quenching effect was observed when AHL-producing bacteria were treated with VOCs emitted by strains B-4117 and IC1270 or with dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), the major volatile produced by strain IC1270. LC-MS/MS analysis revealed that treatment of strains Pseudomonas chlororaphis 449, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 or Ps. fluorescens 2-79 with VOCs emitted by strain IC1270 or DMDS drastically decreases the amount of AHLs produced by these bacteria. Volatile organic compounds produced by Ps. chlororaphis 449 were able to suppress its own QS-induction activity, suggesting a negative interaction between VOCs and AHL molecules in the same strain. Quantitative RT-PCR analysis showed that treatment of Ps. chlororaphis 449 with VOCs emitted by cells of IC1270, B-4117 or 449 itself, or with DMDS, leads to significant suppression of transcription of AHL synthase genes phzI and csaI. Thus, along with AHLs, bacterial volatiles might be considered another type of signal molecule involved in microbial communication in the rhizosphere.

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