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Infect Immun. 2013 Nov;81(11):4053-62. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00880-13. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Analysis of autoinducer-2 quorum sensing in Yersinia pestis.

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1
Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA.

Abstract

The autoinducer-2 (AI-2) quorum-sensing system has been linked to diverse phenotypes and regulatory changes in pathogenic bacteria. In the present study, we performed a molecular and biochemical characterization of the AI-2 system in Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague. In strain CO92, the AI-2 signal is produced in a luxS-dependent manner, reaching maximal levels of 2.5 μM in the late logarithmic growth phase, and both wild-type and pigmentation (pgm) mutant strains made equivalent levels of AI-2. Strain CO92 possesses a chromosomal lsr locus encoding factors involved in the binding and import of AI-2, and confirming this assignment, an lsr deletion mutant increased extracellular pools of AI-2. To assess the functional role of AI-2 sensing in Y. pestis, microarray studies were conducted by comparing Δpgm strain R88 to a Δpgm ΔluxS mutant or a quorum-sensing-null Δpgm ΔypeIR ΔyspIR ΔluxS mutant at 37°C. Our data suggest that AI-2 quorum sensing is associated with metabolic activities and oxidative stress genes that may help Y. pestis survive at the host temperature. This was confirmed by observing that the luxS mutant was more sensitive to killing by hydrogen peroxide, suggesting a potential requirement for AI-2 in evasion of oxidative damage. We also show that a large number of membrane protein genes are controlled by LuxS, suggesting a role for quorum sensing in membrane modeling. Altogether, this study provides the first global analysis of AI-2 signaling in Y. pestis and identifies potential roles for the system in controlling genes important to disease.

PMID:
23959719
PMCID:
PMC3811820
DOI:
10.1128/IAI.00880-13
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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