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Are there acyl-homoserine lactones within mammalian intestines?

Authors
  • Swearingen, Matthew C1
  • Sabag-Daigle, Anice
  • Ahmer, Brian M M
  • 1 Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Bacteriology
Publisher
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2013
Volume
195
Issue
2
Pages
173–179
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1128/JB.01341-12
PMID: 23144246
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Many Proteobacteria are capable of quorum sensing using N-acyl-homoserine lactone (acyl-HSL) signaling molecules that are synthesized by LuxI or LuxM homologs and detected by transcription factors of the LuxR family. Most quorum-sensing species have at least one LuxR and one LuxI homolog. However, members of the Escherichia, Salmonella, Klebsiella, and Enterobacter genera possess only a single LuxR homolog, SdiA, and no acyl-HSL synthase. The most obvious hypothesis is that these organisms are eavesdropping on acyl-HSL production within the complex microbial communities of the mammalian intestinal tract. However, there is currently no evidence of acyl-HSLs being produced within normal intestinal communities. A few intestinal pathogens, including Yersinia enterocolitica, do produce acyl-HSLs, and Salmonella can detect them during infection. Therefore, a more refined hypothesis is that SdiA orthologs are used for eavesdropping on other quorum-sensing pathogens in the host. However, the lack of acyl-HSL signaling among the normal intestinal residents is a surprising finding given the complexity of intestinal communities. In this review, we examine the evidence for and against the possibility of acyl-HSL signaling molecules in the mammalian intestine and discuss the possibility that related signaling molecules might be present and awaiting discovery.

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