Temporal expression program of quorum sensing-based transcription regulation in Sinorhizobium meliloti.

TitleTemporal expression program of quorum sensing-based transcription regulation in Sinorhizobium meliloti.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsCharoenpanich, P, Meyer, S, Becker, A, McIntosh, M
JournalJ Bacteriol
Date Published2013 Jul
KeywordsAcyl-Butyrolactones, Binding Sites, Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Quorum Sensing, Regulon, Sinorhizobium meliloti, Transcription Factors, Transcription, Genetic

The Sin quorum sensing (QS) system of S. meliloti activates exopolysaccharide and represses flagellum production. The system consists of an N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) synthase, SinI, and at least two LuxR-type regulators, SinR and ExpR. SinR appears to be independent of AHLs for its control of sinI expression, while ExpR is almost completely dependent upon AHLs. In this study, we confirmed 7 previously detected ExpR-DNA binding sites and used the consensus sequence to identify another 26 sites, some of which regulate genes previously not known to be members of the ExpR/AHL regulon. The activities of promoters dependent upon ExpR/AHL were titrated against AHL levels, with varied outcomes in AHL sensitivity. The data suggest a type of temporal expression program whereby the activity of each promoter is subject to a specific range of AHL concentrations. For example, genes responsible for exopolysaccharide production are activated at lower concentrations of AHLs than those required for the repression of genes controlling flagellum production. Several features of ExpR-regulated promoters appear to determine their response to AHLs. The location of the ExpR-binding site with respect to the relevant transcription start within each promoter region determines whether ExpR/AHL activates or represses promoter activity. Furthermore, the strength of the response is dependent upon the concentration of AHLs. We propose that this differential sensitivity to AHLs provides a bacterial colony with a transcription control program that is dynamic and precise.

Alternate JournalJ. Bacteriol.