Octanoyl-homoserine lactone is the cognate signal for Burkholderia mallei BmaR1-BmaI1 quorum sensing

Breck A. Duerkop, Ricky L. Ulrich, E. Peter Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Acyl-homoserine lactones (HSLs) serve as quorum-sensing signals for many Proteobacteria. Members of the LuxI family of signal generators catalyze the production of acyl-HSLs, which bind to a cognate receptor in the LuxR family of transcription factors. The obligate animal pathogen Burkholderia mallei produces several acyl-HSLs, and the B. mallei genome has four luxR and two luxI homologs, each of which has been established as a virulence factor. To begin to delineate the relevant acyl-HSL signals for B. mallei LuxR homologs, we analyzed the BmaR1-BmaI1 system. A comparison of acyl-HSL profiles from B. mallei ATCC 23344 and a B. mallei bmaI1 mutant indicates that octanoyl-HSL synthesis is BmaI1 dependent. Furthermore, octanoyl-HSL is the predominant acyl-HSL produced by BmaI1 in recombinant Escherichia coli. The synthesis of soluble BmaR1 in recombinant E. coli requires octanoyl-HSL or decanoyl-HSL. Insoluble aggregates of BmaR1 are produced in the presence of other acyl-HSLs and in the absence of acyl-HSLs. The bmaI1 promoter is activated by BmaR1 and octanoyl-HSL, and a 20-bp inverted repeat in the bmaI1 promoter is required for bmaI1 activation. Purified BmaR1 binds to this promoter region. These findings implicate octanoyl-HSL as the signal for BmaR1-BmaI1 quorum sensing and show that octanoyl-HSL and BmaR1 activate bmaI1 transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5034-5040
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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