PloS one

Natural Guided Genome Engineering Reveals Transcriptional Regulators Controlling Quorum-Sensing Signal Degradation.

PMID 26554837


Quorum-quenching (QQ) are natural or engineered processes disrupting the quorum-sensing (QS) signalling which controls virulence and persistence (e.g. biofilm) in numerous bacteria. QQ involves different enzymes including lactonases, amidases, oxidases and reductases which degrade the QS molecules such as N-acylhomoserine lactones (NAHL). Rhodococcus erythropolis known to efficiently degrade NAHL is proposed as a biocontrol agent and a reservoir of QQ-enzymes for biotechnology. In R. erythropolis, regulation of QQ-enzymes remains unclear. In this work, we performed genome engineering on R. erythropolis, which is recalcitrant to reverse genetics, in order to investigate regulation of QQ-enzymes at a molecular and structural level with the aim to improve the QQ activity. Deep-sequencing of the R. erythropolis enhanced variants allowed identification of a punctual mutation in a key-transcriptional factor QsdR (Quorum sensing degradation Regulation) which regulates the sole QQ-lactonase QsdA identified so far. Using biophysical and structural studies on QsdR, we demonstrate that QQ activity can be improved by modifying the regulation of QQ-enzymes degrading QS signal. This modification requiring the change of only one amino-acid in a transcriptional factor leads to an enhanced R. erythropolis in which the QS-signal degradation pathway is strongly activated.