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Arch Microbiol. 2018 Jan;200(1):47-56. doi: 10.1007/s00203-017-1422-x. Epub 2017 Aug 5.

Revealing strategies of quorum sensing in Azospirillum brasilense strains Ab-V5 and Ab-V6.

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Embrapa Soja, C.P. 231, Londrina, Paraná, 86001-970, Brazil.
Dept. Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Universidade Estadual de Londrina (UEL), C.P. 60001, Londrina, Paraná, 86051-990, Brazil.
Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Sevilla, C.P. 41012, Seville, Spain.
Embrapa Soja, C.P. 231, Londrina, Paraná, 86001-970, Brazil.


Azospirillum brasilense is an important plant-growth promoting bacterium (PGPB) that requires several critical steps for root colonization, including biofilm and exopolysaccharide (EPS) synthesis and cell motility. In several bacteria these mechanisms are mediated by quorum sensing (QS) systems that regulate the expression of specific genes mediated by the autoinducers N-acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs). We investigated QS mechanisms in strains Ab-V5 and Ab-V6 of A. brasilense, which are broadly used in commercial inoculants in Brazil. Neither of these strains carries a luxI gene, but there are several luxR solos that might perceive AHL molecules. By adding external AHLs we verified that biofilm and EPS production and cell motility (swimming and swarming) were regulated via QS in Ab-V5, but not in Ab-V6. Differences were observed not only between strains, but also in the specificity of LuxR-type receptors to AHL molecules. However, Ab-V6 was outstanding in indole acetic acid (IAA) synthesis and this molecule might mimic AHL signals. We also applied the quorum quenching (QQ) strategy, obtaining transconjugants of Ab-V5 and Ab-V6 carrying a plasmid with acyl-homoserine lactonase. When maize (Zea mays L.) was inoculated with the wild-type and transconjugant strains, plant growth was decreased with the transconjugant of Ab-V5-confirming the importance of an AHL-mediated QS system-but did not affect plant growth promotion by Ab-V6.


AHL; Biofilm; Cell motility; EPS; IAA; N-Acyl-homoserine lactones; QQ; QS; Zea mays; lux genes

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