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Cell. 2019 Jan 10;176(1-2):268-280.e13. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.10.059. Epub 2018 Dec 13.

A Host-Produced Quorum-Sensing Autoinducer Controls a Phage Lysis-Lysogeny Decision.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA. Electronic address:


Vibrio cholerae uses a quorum-sensing (QS) system composed of the autoinducer 3,5-dimethylpyrazin-2-ol (DPO) and receptor VqmA (VqmAVc), which together repress genes for virulence and biofilm formation. vqmA genes exist in Vibrio and in one vibriophage, VP882. Phage-encoded VqmA (VqmAPhage) binds to host-produced DPO, launching the phage lysis program via an antirepressor that inactivates the phage repressor by sequestration. The antirepressor interferes with repressors from related phages. Like phage VP882, these phages encode DNA-binding proteins and partner antirepressors, suggesting that they, too, integrate host-derived information into their lysis-lysogeny decisions. VqmAPhage activates the host VqmAVc regulon, whereas VqmAVc cannot induce phage-mediated lysis, suggesting an asymmetry whereby the phage influences host QS while enacting its own lytic-lysogeny program without interference. We reprogram phages to activate lysis in response to user-defined cues. Our work shows that a phage, causing bacterial infections, and V. cholerae, causing human infections, rely on the same signal molecule for pathogenesis.


DPO; Qtip; Vibrio; VqmA; antirepressor; autoinducer; kill switch; lysis-lysogeny; phage; quorum sensing

[Available on 2020-01-10]

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