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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 Aug;98(16):7173-83. doi: 10.1007/s00253-014-5807-3. Epub 2014 May 21.

Quorum quenching is an antivirulence strategy employed by endophytic bacteria.

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Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering, TU Dortmund, Emil-Figge-Str. 66, 44227, Dortmund, Germany.


Bacteria predominantly use quorum sensing to regulate a plethora of physiological activities such as cell-cell crosstalk, mutualism, virulence, competence, biofilm formation, and antibiotic resistance. In this study, we investigated how certain potent endophytic bacteria harbored in Cannabis sativa L. plants use quorum quenching as an antivirulence strategy to disrupt the cell-to-cell quorum sensing signals in the biosensor strain, Chromobacterium violaceum. We used a combination of high-performance liquid chromatography high-resolution mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-HRMS(n)) and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization imaging high-resolution mass spectrometry (MALDI-imaging-HRMS) to first quantify and visualize the spatial distribution of the quorum sensing molecules in the biosensor strain, C. violaceum. We then showed, both quantitatively and visually in high spatial resolution, how selected endophytic bacteria of C. sativa can selectively and differentially quench the quorum sensing molecules of C. violaceum. This study provides fundamental insights into the antivirulence strategies used by endophytes in order to survive in their ecological niches. Such defense mechanisms are evolved in order to thwart the plethora of pathogens invading associated host plants in a manner that prevents the pathogens from developing resistance against the plant/endophyte bioactive secondary metabolites. This work also provides evidence towards utilizing endophytes as tools for biological control of bacterial phytopathogens. In continuation, such insights would even afford new concepts and strategies in the future for combating drug resistant bacteria by quorum-inhibiting clinical therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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