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J Bacteriol. 1997 Sep;179(17):5271-81.

Quorum sensing in Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas salmonicida: identification of the LuxRI homologs AhyRI and AsaRI and their cognate N-acylhomoserine lactone signal molecules.

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Department of Applied Biochemistry and Food Science, University of Nottingham, Leicestershire, United Kingdom.


Spent culture supernatants from both Aeromonas hydrophila and Aeromonas salmonicida activate a range of biosensors responsive to N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs). The genes for a quorum sensing signal generator and a response regulator were cloned from each Aeromonas species and termed ahyRI and asaRI, respectively. Protein sequence homology analysis places the gene products within the growing family of LuxRI homologs. ahyR and asaR are transcribed divergently from ahyI and asaI, respectively, and in both Aeromonas species, the genes downstream have been identified by DNA sequence and PCR analysis. Downstream of both ahyI and asaI is a gene with close homology to iciA, an inhibitor of chromosome replication in Escherichia coli, a finding which implies that in Aeromonas, cell division may be linked to quorum sensing. The major signal molecule synthesized via both AhyI and AsaI was purified from spent culture supernatants and identified as N-(butanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (BHL) by thin-layer chromatography, high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis, and mass spectrometry. In addition, a second, minor AHL, N-hexanoyl-L-homoserine lactone, was identified. Transcriptional reporter studies with ahyI::luxCDABE fusions indicate that AhyR and BHL are both required for ahyI transcription. For A. salmonicida, although the addition of exogenous BHL gives only a small stimulation of the production of serine protease with comparison to the control culture, the incorporation of a longer-chain AHL, N-(3-oxodecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone, reduced the final level (by approximately 50%) and delayed the appearance (from an A650 of 0.9 in the control to an A650 of 1.2 in the test) of protease in the culture supernatant. These data add A. hydrophila and A. salmonicida to the growing family of gram-negative bacteria now known to control gene expression through quorum sensing.

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