Analysis of quorum-sensing-dependent control of rhizosphere-expressed (rhi) genes in Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae
Rodelas, B × Lithgow, J K Wisniewski-Dye, F Hardman, A Wilkinson, A Economou, Anastassios Williams, P Downie, J A #
American Society for Microbiology (ASM)
Journal of Bacteriology vol:181 issue:12 pages:3816-23
The rhi genes of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar viciae are expressed in the rhizosphere and play a role in the interaction with legumes, such as the pea. Previously (K. M. Gray, J. P. Pearson, J. A. Downie, B. E. A. Boboye, and E. P. Greenberg, J. Bacteriol. 178:372-376, 1996) the rhiABC operon had been shown to be regulated by RhiR and to be induced by added N-(3-hydroxy-7-cis-tetradecenoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (3OH, C14:1-HSL). Mutagenesis of a cosmid carrying the rhiABC and rhiR gene region identified a gene (rhiI) that affects the level of rhiA expression. Mutation of rhiI slightly increased the number of nodules formed on the pea. The rhiI gene is (like rhiA) regulated by rhiR in a cell density-dependent manner. RhiI is similar to LuxI and other proteins involved in the synthesis of N-acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs). Chemical analyses of spent culture supernatants demonstrated that RhiI produces N-(hexanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (C6-HSL) and N-(octanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (C8-HSL). Both of these AHLs induced rhiA-lacZ and rhiI-lacZ expression on plasmids introduced into an Agrobacterium strain that produces no AHLs, showing that rhiI is positively regulated by autoinduction. However, in this system no induction of rhiA or rhiI with 3OH,C14:1-HSL was observed. Analysis of the spent culture supernatant of the wild-type R. leguminosarum bv. viciae revealed that at least seven different AHLs are made. Mutation of rhiI decreased the amounts of C6-HSL and C8-HSL but did not block their formation, and in this background the rhiI mutation did not significantly affect the expression levels of the rhiI gene or rhiABC genes or the accumulation of RhiA protein. These observations suggest that there are additional loci involved in AHL production in R. leguminosarum bv. viciae and that they affect rhiI and rhiABC expression. We postulate that the previously observed induction of rhiA by 3OH,C14:1-HSL may be due to an indirect effect caused by induction of other AHL production loci.