Suo Z., et al. 2023. mBio

Mesorhizobium japonicum quorum sensing circuit that involves three linked genes and an unusual acyl-homoserine lactone signal

Zehui Suo, Dale A. Cummings, Jr, Aaron W. Puri, Amy L. Schaefer, and E. Peter Greenberg
May 25, 2023, mBio; DOI:10.1128/mbio.01010-23


Members of the genus Mesorhizobium, which are core components of the rhizosphere and specific symbionts of legume plants, possess genes for acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum sensing (QS). Here we show Mesorhizobium japonicum MAFF 303099 (formerly M. loti) synthesizes and responds to N-[(2E, 4E)-2,4-dodecadienoyl] homoserine lactone (2E, 4E-C12:2-HSL). We show that the 2E, 4E-C12:2-HSL QS circuit involves one of four luxR-luxI-type genes found in the sequenced genome of MAFF 303099. We refer to this circuit, which appears to be conserved among Mesorhizobium species, as R1-I1. We show that two other Mesorhizobium strains also produce 2E, 4E-C12:2-HSL. The 2E, 4E-C12:2-HSL is unique among known AHLs in its arrangement of two trans double bonds. The R1 response to 2E, 4E-C12:2-HSL is extremely selective in comparison with other LuxR homologs, and the trans double bonds appear critical for R1 signal recognition. Most well-studied LuxI-like proteins use S-adenosylmethionine and an acyl-acyl carrier protein as substrates for synthesis of AHLs. Others that form a subgroup of LuxI-type proteins use acyl-coenzyme A substrates rather than acyl-acyl carrier proteins. I1 clusters with the acyl-coenzyme A-type AHL synthases. We show that a gene linked to the I1 AHL synthase is involved in the production of the QS signal. The discovery of the unique I1 product enforces the view that further study of acyl-coenzyme A-dependent LuxI homologs will expand our knowledge of AHL diversity. The involvement of an additional enzyme in AHL generation leads us to consider this system a three-component QS circuit.


Suo Z, Cummings DA, Puri AW, Schaefer AL, and Greenberg EP (2023). A Mesorhizobium japonicum quorum sensing circuit that involves three linked genes and an unusual acyl-homoserine lactone signal. mBio 0: e01010-01023.m DOI:10.1128/mbio.01010-23