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Title: Insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis Silences Erwinia carotovora Virulence by a New Form of Microbial Antagonism, Signal Interference
Authors: Dong, Y.-H.
Zhang, X.-F.
Xu, J.-L.
Zhang, L.-H. 
Issue Date: Feb-2004
Citation: Dong, Y.-H., Zhang, X.-F., Xu, J.-L., Zhang, L.-H. (2004-02). Insecticidal Bacillus thuringiensis Silences Erwinia carotovora Virulence by a New Form of Microbial Antagonism, Signal Interference. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 70 (2) : 954-960. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: It is commonly known that bacteria may produce antibiotics to interfere with the normal biological functions of their competitors in order to gain competitive advantages. Here we report that Bacillus thuringiensis suppressed the quorum-sensing-dependent virulence of plant pathogen Erwinia carotovora through a new form of microbial antagonism, signal interference. E. carotovora produces and responds to acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) quorum-sensing signals to regulate antibiotic production and expression of virulence genes, whereas B. thuringiensis strains possess AHL-lactonase, which is a potent AHL-degrading enzyme. B. thuringiensis did not seem to interfere with the normal growth of E. carotovora; rather, it abolished the accumulation of AHL signal when they were cocultured. In planta, B. thuringiensis significantly decreased the incidence of E. carotovora infection and symptom development of potato soft rot caused by the pathogen. The biocontrol efficiency is correlated with the ability of bacterial strains to produce AHL-lactonase. While all the seven AHL-lactonase-producing B. thuringiensis strains provided significant protection against E. carotovora infection, Bacillus fusiformis and Escherichia coli strains that do not process AHL-degradation enzyme showed little effect in biocontrol. Mutation of aiiA, the gene encoding AHL-lactonase in B. thuringiensis, resulted in a substantial decrease in biocontrol efficacy. These results suggest that signal interference mechanisms existing in natural ecosystems could be explored as a new version of antagonism for prevention of bacterial infections.
Source Title: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
ISSN: 00992240
DOI: 10.1128/AEM.70.2.954-960.2004
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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