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Adaptive Significance of Quorum Sensing-Dependent Regulation of Rhamnolipids by Integration of Growth Rate in Burkholderia glumae: A Trade-Off between Survival and Efficiency

Nickzad, Arvin; Déziel, Éric (2016). Adaptive Significance of Quorum Sensing-Dependent Regulation of Rhamnolipids by Integration of Growth Rate in Burkholderia glumae: A Trade-Off between Survival and Efficiency Frontiers in microbiology , vol. 7 , nº 1215. p. 1-8. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01215.

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Résumé

Quorum sensing (QS) is a cell density-dependent mechanism which enables a population of bacteria to coordinate cooperative behaviors in response to the accumulation of self-produced autoinducer signals in their local environment. An emerging framework is that the adaptive significance of QS in the regulation of production of costly extracellular metabolites ("public goods") is to maintain the homeostasis of cooperation. We investigated this model using the phytopathogenic bacterium Burkholderia glumae, which we have previously demonstrated uses QS to regulate the production of rhamnolipids, extracellular surface-active glycolipids promoting the social behavior called "swarming motility." Using mass spectrometric quantification and chromosomal lux-based gene expression, we made the unexpected finding that when unrestricted nutrient resources are provided, production of rhamnolipids is carried out completely independently of QS regulation. This is a unique observation among known QS-controlled factors in bacteria. On the other hand, under nutrient-limited conditions, QS then becomes the main regulating mechanism, significantly enhancing the specific rhamnolipids yield. Accordingly, decreasing nutrient concentrations amplifies rhamnolipid biosynthesis gene expression, revealing a system where QS-dependent regulation is specifically triggered by the growth rate of the population, rather than by its cell density. Furthermore, a gradual increase in QS signal specific concentration upon decrease of specific growth rate suggests a reduction in quorum threshold, which reflects an increase in cellular demand for production of QS-dependent target gene product at low density populations. Integration of growth rate with QS as a decision-making mechanism for biosynthesis of costly metabolites, such as rhamnolipids, could serve to assess the demand and timing for expanding the carrying capacity of a population through spatial expansion mechanisms, such as swarming motility, thus promoting the chances of survival, even if the cell density might not be high enough for an otherwise efficient production of rhamnolipids. In conclusion, we propose that the adaptive significance of growth rate-dependent functionality of QS in biosynthesis of costly public goods lies within providing a regulatory mechanism for selecting the optimal trade-off between survival and efficiency.

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Centre: Centre INRS-Institut Armand Frappier
Date de dépôt: 24 août 2016 20:05
Dernière modification: 24 août 2016 20:05
URI: http://espace.inrs.ca/id/eprint/4545

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