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ACS chemical biology

N-phenylacetanoyl-L-homoserine lactones can strongly antagonize or superagonize quorum sensing in Vibrio fischeri.


PMID 17480049

Abstract

Bacteria monitor their population densities using low-molecular-weight ligands in a process known as quorum sensing. At sufficient cell densities, bacteria can change their mode of growth and behave as multicellular communities that play critical roles in both beneficial symbioses and the pathogenesis of infectious disease. The development of non-native ligands that can block quorum-sensing signals has emerged as a promising new strategy to attenuate these divergent outcomes. Here, we report that N-phenylacetanoyl-L-homoserine lactones are capable of either inhibiting or, in some cases, strongly inducing quorum sensing in the bacterial symbiont Vibrio fischeri. Moreover, simple structural modifications to these ligands have remarkable effects on activity. These studies have revealed one of the first synthetic superagonists of quorum sensing, N-(3-nitro-phenylacetanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone. Together, these ligands represent a powerful new class of chemical probes with the potential to significantly expand the current understanding of quorum sensing and its role in host/bacteria interactions.

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