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Research in microbiology

Response of leaf-associated bacterial communities to primary acyl-homoserine lactone in the tobacco phyllosphere.


PMID 22146588

Abstract

The phyllosphere is inhabited by large populations of epiphytic bacteria that are able to modulate their phenotypes and behavior by quorum sensing (QS). However, the impact of acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) involved in QS on the ecology of bacteria in their natural habitat remains unclear. Therefore, we used a bioassay and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry to detect AHLs in the tobacco phyllosphere. Our results identified several AHLs in the tobacco phyllosphere, the majority of which were short-chain AHLs. Furthermore, the addition of an exogenous N-(3-oxohexanoyl) homoserine lactone (3OC6HSL), which is seen in the naturally occurring tobacco phyllosphere, generated variability in the composition of the bacterial community as determined by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis and phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. Notably, the ratio of Gram-positive (GP) bacteria increased in response to treatment with 1 μM AHL, but decreased incipiently when treated with 10 μM AHL. These observations provide insight into the composition of the leaf-colonizing epiphyte community responsible for AHLs, particularly GP bacteria as they do not use AHLs as signaling molecules for QS.

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