Genomic Analysis Reveals Versatile Organisms for Quorum Quenching Enzymes: Acyl-Homoserine Lactone-Acylase and -Lactonase

The Open Microbiology Journal 8 Feb 2011 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874285801105010001


Microbial virulence and their resistance to multiple drugs have obliged researchers to look for novel drug targets. Virulence of pathogenic microbes is regulated by signal molecules such as acylated homoserine lactone (AHL) produced during a cell density dependent phenomenon of quorum sensing (QS). In contrast, certain microbes produce AHL-lactonases and -acylases to degrade QS signals, also termed as quorum quenching. Mining sequenced genome databases has revealed organisms possessing conserved domains for AHL-lactonases and –acylases: i) Streptomyces (Actinobacteria), ii) Deinococcus (Deinococcus-Thermus), iii) Hyphomonas (α-Proteobacteria), iv) Ralstonia (β-Proteobacteria), v) Photorhabdus (γ-Proteobacteria), and certain marine gamma proteobacterium. Presence of genes for both the enzymes within an organism was observed in the following: i) Deinococcus radiodurans R1, ii) Hyphomonas neptunium ATCC 15444 and iii) Photorhabdus luminescens subsp. laumondii TTO1. These observations are supported by the presence motifs for lactonase and acylase in these strains. Phylogenetic analysis and multiple sequence alignment of the gene sequences for AHL-lactonases and –acylases have revealed consensus sequences which can be used to design primers for amplifying these genes even among mixed cultures and metagenomes. Quorum quenching can be exploited to prevent food spoilage, bacterial infections and bioremediation.

Keywords: Acylhomoserine lactone, Acylase, Bacillus, Lactonase, Phylogeny, Pseudomonas, Quorum sensing, Quorum quenching.
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