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J Biol Chem. 2014 Sep 19;289(38):26566-73. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.573832. Epub 2014 Aug 4.

Caenorhabditis elegans recognizes a bacterial quorum-sensing signal molecule through the AWCON neuron.

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From the Department of Molecular Biology and.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey 08028.
Department of Pediatrics-Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, and.
Department of Chemistry, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08544.
From the Department of Molecular Biology and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815


In a process known as quorum sensing, bacteria use chemicals called autoinducers for cell-cell communication. Population-wide detection of autoinducers enables bacteria to orchestrate collective behaviors. In the animal kingdom detection of chemicals is vital for success in locating food, finding hosts, and avoiding predators. This behavior, termed chemotaxis, is especially well studied in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Here we demonstrate that the Vibrio cholerae autoinducer (S)-3-hydroxytridecan-4-one, termed CAI-1, influences chemotaxis in C. elegans. C. elegans prefers V. cholerae that produces CAI-1 over a V. cholerae mutant defective for CAI-1 production. The position of the CAI-1 ketone moiety is the key feature driving CAI-1-directed nematode behavior. CAI-1 is detected by the C. elegans amphid sensory neuron AWC(ON). Laser ablation of the AWC(ON) cell, but not other amphid sensory neurons, abolished chemoattraction to CAI-1. These analyses define the structural features of a bacterial-produced signal and the nematode chemosensory neuron that permit cross-kingdom interaction.


Bacterial Signal Transduction; Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans); Chemotaxis; Gene Regulation; Quorum Sensing; V. cholerae

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