The Response of Type 2 Quorum Sensing in Klebsiella pneumoniae to a Fluctuating Culture Environment
AbstractBacterial cells communicate with one another using chemical signaling molecules. This phenomenon is termed quorum sensing (QS). QS in Klebsiella pneumoniae is mediated by the synthesis of interspecies autoinducer 2 (AI-2), a furanosyl borate diester molecule. The response of Type 2 QS to environmental cues such as carbon sources, the initial pH of the medium, and boracic acid was investigated in the present study using a Vibrio harveyi BB170 reporter assay and quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis. The results show that glucose can affect AI-2 synthesis to the greatest extent, and 3.0% glucose can stimulate K. pneumoniae to produce more AI-2, with a four times increase in activity compared with that of the control culture. According to our previous research, Type 2 QS in K. pneumoniae is luxS dependent. Therefore, the close relationship between glucose concentration and luxS transcription level was confirmed with qRT-PCR technology. The results show that the response of QS to a fluctuating glucose concentration was observed as a change in the amount of luxS RNA transcripts. A maximum of luxS transcription appeared during the exponential growth phase when the glucose concentration was 30.0 g/L. At the same time, AI-2 production was also slightly impacted by the low initial pH. It is noteworthy that the addition of boracic acid at microdosage (0.1 g/L) can also induce AI-2 synthesis. Presumably, in K. pneumoniae , the 4,5-dihydroxy-2,3-pentanedione cyclizes by the addition of borate and loss of water, is hydrated, and is converted to the final AI-2 signaling molecule.