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J Bacteriol. 1997 May; 179(10): 3127–3132.
PMCID: PMC179088

Regulation of las and rhl quorum sensing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Abstract

The production of several virulence factors by Pseudomonas aeruginosa is controlled according to cell density through two quorum-sensing systems, las and rhl. The las system is comprised of the transcriptional activator protein LasR and of LasI, which directs the synthesis of the autoinducer PAI-1. Similarly, the rhl system consists of the transcriptional activator protein RhlR and of RhlI, which directs synthesis of the autoinducer PAI-2 (formerly referred to as factor 2). To study the interrelation between the two P. aeruginosa quorum-sensing systems, we fused a lacZ reporter gene to lasR, rhlR, and rhlA and monitored expression of these three genes under various conditions. Our data indicate that lasR and rhlR are expressed in a growth-dependent manner, with activation of each gene occurring during the last half of log-phase growth. We also show that the las quorum-sensing system controls the rhl quorum-sensing system in two ways. First, we found that LasR and PAI-1 activated rhlR transcription. Second, we showed that PAI-1 blocked PAI-2 from binding to RhlR, thereby inhibiting the expression of rhlA. Our data thus indicate that the las system exerts two levels of control on RhlR, transcriptional and posttranslational.

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