1887

Abstract

utilizes quorum sensing to regulate stress responses required for survival in the aquatic environment. Like other species, contains the gene , which encodes the ancestral quorum regulatory RNA Qrr1, and phosphorelay quorum-sensing systems that modulate the expression of small regulatory RNAs (sRNAs) that destabilize mRNA encoding the transcriptional regulator VanT. In this study, three additional Qrr sRNAs were identified. All four sRNAs were positively regulated by σ and the σ-dependent response regulator VanO, and showed a redundant activity. The Qrr sRNAs, together with the RNA chaperone Hfq, destabilized mRNA and modulated expression of VanT-regulated genes. Unexpectedly, expression of all four genes peaked at high cell density, and exogenously added -acylhomoserine lactone molecules induced expression of the genes at low cell density. The phosphotransferase VanU, which phosphorylates and activates VanO, repressed expression of the Qrr sRNAs and stabilized mRNA. A model is presented proposing that VanU acts as a branch point, aiding cross-regulation between two independent phosphorelay systems that activate or repress expression of the Qrr sRNAs, giving flexibility and precision in modulating VanT expression and inducing a quorum-sensing response to stresses found in a constantly changing aquatic environment.

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2011-12-01
2020-01-21
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