Perceiving the chemical language of Gram-negative bacteria: listening by high-resolution mass spectrometry.

TitlePerceiving the chemical language of Gram-negative bacteria: listening by high-resolution mass spectrometry.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsCataldi, TRI, Bianco, G, Fonseca, J, Schmitt-Kopplin, P
JournalAnal Bioanal Chem
Date Published2012 Sep 18

Gram-negative bacteria use N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) as their command language to coordinate population behavior during invasion and colonization of higher organisms. Although many different bacterial bioreporters are available for AHLs monitoring, in which a phenotypic response, e.g. bioluminescence, violacin production, and β-galactosidase activity, is exploited, mass spectrometry (MS) is the most versatile detector for rapid analysis of AHLs in complex microbial samples, with or without prior separation steps. In this paper we critically review recent advances in the application of high-resolution MS to analysis of the quorum sensing (QS) signaling molecules used by Gram-negative bacteria, with much emphasis on AHLs. A critical review of the use of bioreporters in the study of AHLs is followed by a short methodological survey of the capabilities of high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), including Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance (FTICR) MS and quadrupole time-of-flight (qTOF) MS. Use of infusion electrospray ultrahigh-resolution FTICR MS (12 Tesla) enables accurate mass measurements for determination of the elemental formulas of AHLs in Acidovorax sp. N35 and Burkholderia ubonensis AB030584. Results obtained by coupling liquid chromatography with a hybrid quadrupole linear ion trap-FTICR mass spectrometer (LC-LTQ-FTICRMS, 7-T) for characterization of acylated homoserine lactones in the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa are presented. UPLC-ESI-qTOF MS has also proved to be suitable for identification of 3O-C(10)HSL in Pseudomonas putida IsoF cell culture supernatant. Aspects of sample preparation and the avoidance of analytical pitfalls are also emphasized.

Alternate JournalAnal Bioanal Chem