Quorum sensing in Aliivibrio wodanis 06/09/139 and its role in controlling various phenotypic traits
Background Quorum Sensing (QS) is a cell-to-cell communication system that bacteria utilize to adapt to the external environment by synthesizing and responding to signalling molecules called autoinducers. The psychrotrophic bacterium Aliivibrio wodanis 06/09/139, originally isolated from a winter ulcer of a reared Atlantic salmon, produces the autoinducer N-3-hydroxy-decanoyl-homoserine-lactone (3OHC10-HSL) and encodes the QS systems AinS/R and LuxS/PQ, and the master regulator LitR. However, the role of QS in this bacterium has not been investigated yet. Results In the present work we show that 3OHC10-HSL production is cell density and temperature-dependent in A. wodanis 06/09/139 with the highest production occurring at a low temperature (6 °C). Gene inactivation demonstrates that AinS is responsible for 3OHC10-HSL production and positively regulated by LitR. Inactivation of ainS and litR further show that QS is involved in the regulation of growth, motility, hemolysis, protease activity and siderophore production. Of these QS regulated activities, only the protease activity was found to be independent of LitR. Lastly, supernatants harvested from the wild type and the ΔainS and ΔlitR mutants at high cell densities show that inactivation of QS leads to a decreased cytopathogenic effect (CPE) in a cell culture assay, and strongest attenuation of the CPE was observed with supernatants harvested from the ΔlitR mutant. Conclusion A. wodanis 06/09/139 use QS to regulate a number of activities that may prove important for host colonization or interactions. The temperature of 6 °C that is in the temperature range at which winter ulcer occurs, plays a role in AHL production and development of CPE on a Chinook Salmon Embryo (CHSE) cell line.