The activated methyl cycle (AMC) is responsible for the generation of S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), which is a substrate of N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL) synthases. However, it is unknown whether AHL-mediated quorum sensing (QS) plays a role in the metabolic flux of the AMC to ensure cell density-dependent biosynthesis of AHL in cooperative populations. Here we show that QS controls metabolic homeostasis of the AMC critical for AHL biosynthesis and cellular methylation in Burkholderia glumae, the causal agent of rice panicle blight. Activation of genes encoding SAM-dependent methyltransferases, S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) hydrolase, and methionine synthases involved in the AMC by QS is essential for maintaining the optimal concentrations of methionine, SAM, and SAH required for bacterial cooperativity as cell density increases. Thus, the absence of QS perturbed metabolic homeostasis of the AMC and caused pleiotropic phenotypes in B. glumae. A null mutation in the SAH hydrolase gene negatively affected AHL and ATP biosynthesis and the activity of SAM-dependent methyltransferases including ToxA, which is responsible for the biosynthesis of a key virulence factor toxoflavin in B. glumae. These results indicate that QS controls metabolic flux of the AMC to secure the biosynthesis of AHL and cellular methylation in a cooperative population.
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