|Monitoring of Vibrio harveyi quorum sensing activity in real time during infection of brine shrimp larvae|Defoirdt, T.; Sorgeloos, P. (2012). Monitoring of Vibrio harveyi quorum sensing activity in real time during infection of brine shrimp larvae. ISME J. 6(12): 2314-2319. dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2012.58
In: The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology. Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 1751-7362, more
quorum sensing; infection; vibriosis; host-microbe interaction
Quorum sensing, bacterial cell-to-cell communication, has been linked to the virulence of pathogenic bacteria. Indeed, in vitro experiments have shown that many bacterial pathogens regulate the expression of virulence genes by this cell-to-cell communication process. Moreover, signal molecules have been detected in samples retrieved from infected hosts and quorum sensing disruption has been reported to result in reduced virulence in different host–pathogen systems. However, data on in vivo quorum sensing activity of pathogens during infection of a host are currently lacking. We previously reported that quorum sensing regulates the virulence of Vibrio harveyi in a standardised model system with gnotobiotic brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana) larvae. Here, we monitored quorum sensing activity in Vibrio harveyi during infection of the shrimp, using bioluminescence as a read-out. We found that wild-type Vibrio harveyi shows a strong increase in quorum sensing activity early during infection. In this respect, the bacteria behave remarkably similar in different larvae, despite the fact that only half of them survive the infection. Interestingly, when expressed per bacterial cell, Vibrio harveyi showed around 200-fold higher maximal quorum sensing-regulated bioluminescence when associated with larvae than in the culture water. Finally, the in vivo quorum sensing activity of mutants defective in the production of one of the three signal molecules is consistent with their virulence, with no detectable in vivo quorum sensing activity in AI-2- and CAI-1-deficient mutants. These results indicate that AI-2 and CAI-1 are the dominant signals during infection of brine shrimp.