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Expression and quorum sensing regulation of type III secretion system genes of Vibrio harveyi during infection of gnotobiotic brine shrimp
Ruwandeepika, H.A.D.; Karunasagar, I.; Bossier, P.; Defoirdt, T. (2015). Expression and quorum sensing regulation of type III secretion system genes of Vibrio harveyi during infection of gnotobiotic brine shrimp. PLoS One 10(12): e0143935. dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0143935
In: PLoS One. Public Library of Science: San Francisco. ISSN 1932-6203, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Ruwandeepika, H.A.D., more
  • Karunasagar, I.
  • Bossier, P., more
  • Defoirdt, T., more

Abstract
    Type III secretion systems enable pathogens to inject their virulence factors directly into the cytoplasm of the host cells. The type III secretion system of Vibrio harveyi, a major pathogen of aquatic organisms and a model species in quorum sensing studies, is repressed by the quorum sensing master regulator LuxR. In this study, we found that during infection of gnotobiotic brine shrimp larvae, the expression levels of three type III secretion operons in V. harveyi increased within the first 12h after challenge and decreased again thereafter. The in vivo expression levels were highest in a mutant with a quorum sensing system that is locked in low cell density configuration (minimal LuxR levels) and lowest in a mutant with a quorum sensing system that is locked in the high cell density configuration (maximal LuxR levels), which is consistent with repression of type III secretion by LuxR. Remarkably, in vivo expression levels of the type III secretion system genes were much (> 1000 fold) higher than the in vitro expression levels, indicating that (currently unknown) host factors significantly induce the type III secretion system. Given the fact that type III secretion is energy-consuming, repression by the quorum sensing master regulators might be a mechanism to save energy under conditions where it does not provide an advantage to the cells.

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