Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Chem Biol. 2013 Sep;9(9):573-8. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.1295. Epub 2013 Jul 14.

Pyrones as bacterial signaling molecules.

Author information

1] Merck Stiftungsprofessur für Molekulare Biotechnologie, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany. [2].


Bacteria communicate via small diffusible molecules and thereby mediate group-coordinated behavior, a process referred to as quorum sensing. The prototypical quorum sensing system found in Gram-negative bacteria consists of a LuxI-type autoinducer synthase that produces N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) as signals and a LuxR-type receptor that detects the AHLs to control expression of specific genes. However, many proteobacteria have proteins with homology to LuxR receptors yet lack any cognate LuxI-like AHL synthase. Here we show that in the insect pathogen Photorhabdus luminescens the orphan LuxR-type receptor PluR detects endogenously produced α-pyrones that serve as signaling molecules at low nanomolar concentrations. Additionally, the ketosynthase PpyS was identified as pyrone synthase. Reconstitution of the entire system containing PluR, the PluR-target operon we termed pcf and PpyS in Escherichia coli demonstrated that the cell-cell communication circuit is portable. Our research thus deorphanizes a signaling system and suggests that additional modes of bacterial communication may await discovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center