Jan 9, 1998

Quorum sensing and Chromobacterium violaceum: exploitation of violacein production and inhibition for the detection of N-acylhomoserine lactones

Microbiology
K H McCleanP Williams

Abstract

Quorum sensing relies upon the interaction of a diffusible signal molecule with a transcriptional activator protein to couple gene expression with cell population density. In Gram-negative bacteria, such signal molecules are usually N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) which differ in the structure of their N-acyl side chains. Chromobacterium violaceum, a Gram-negative bacterium commonly found in soil and water, produces the characteristic purple pigment violacein. Previously the authors described a violacein-negative, mini-Tn5 mutant of C. violaceum (CV026) in which pigment production can be restored by incubation with supernatants from the wild-type strain. To develop this mutant as a general biosensor for AHLs, the natural C. violaceum AHL molecule was first chemically characterized. By using solvent extraction, HPLC and mass spectrometry, a single AHL, N-hexanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (HHL), was identified in wild-type C. violaceum culture supernatants which was absent from CV026. Since the production of violacein constitutes a simple assay for the detection of AHLs, we explored the ability of CV026 to respond to a series of synthetic AHL and N-acylhomocysteine thiolactone (AHT) analogues. In CV026, violacein is inducible by all...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Chromobacterium
Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
L-isomer of Homoserine
N Syndrome
Agar
Biosensors
Anterior Horizontal Limb of Lateral Sulcus (Human Only)
Cestrum violaceum
Gene Expression
Lactones

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