Cell-cell communication through the production of autoinducer molecules has been widely studied in bacteria and found to play a pivotal role in biofilm formation and gene regulation. Quorum Sensing (QS) within the domain Archaea is understudied compared with their bacterial counterparts. The aim of this study was to determine whether archaea are capable of cross-kingdom signalling through the production of QS inducing compounds and QS inhibitory activities. A combination of culture-dependent (crude extracts from archaeal isolates) and culture-independent (genomic mining) techniques were employed to investigate the production of compounds capable of modulating bacterial QS. Crude archaeal extracts were screened for activity using the bioreporter strains Agrobacterium tumefaciens ATCC BAA-2240, Escherichia coli JM109 pSB536, pSB401 and pSB1142, Chromobacterium violaceum CV026 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa MW-1. Active strains were further characterised using initial bio-assay guided fractionation. Preliminary results revealed different strains were capable of eliciting a QS response in the bacterial bio-reporters. Initial characterisation using LC-MS, TLC-overlays, and other biochemical tests, suggests the possible production of Butyryl Homoserine Lactones or homologs of this molecule by at least one of the strains. Conversely, other halophilic archaea were capable of inhibiting the production of QS-controlled pathways, as demonstrated by the reduction in virulence factor production by P. aeruginosa. Further characterisation of these compounds will prove to be an invaluable insight into the poorly understood mechanisms behind archaeal QS and equally will reveal the role of these compounds in cross-kingdom signalling.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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