Visualization of N-acylhomoserine lactone-mediated cell-cell communication between bacteria colonizing the tomato rhizosphere

A. Steidle, K. Sigl, R. Schuhegger, A. Ihring, M. Schmid, S. Gantner, M. Stoffels, K. Riedel, Michael Christian Givskov, A. Hartmann, C. Langebartels, Leo Eberl

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Given that a large proportion of the bacteria colonizing the roots of plants is capable of producing N-acyl-L-homoserine lactone (AHL) molecules, it appears likely that these bacterial pheromones may serve as signals for communication between cells of different species. In this study, we have developed and characterized novel Gfp-based monitor strains that allow in situ visualization of AHL-mediated communication between individual cells in the plant rhizosphere. For this purpose, three Gfp-based AHL sensor plasmids that respond to different spectra of AHL molecules were transferred into AHL-negative derivatives of Pseudomonas putida IsoF and Serratia liquefaciens MG1, two strains that are capable of colonizing tomato roots. These AHL monitor strains were used to visualize communication between defined bacterial populations in the rhizosphere of axenically grown tomato plants. Furthermore, we integrated into the chromosome of AHL-negative P. putida strain F117 an AHL sensor cassette that responds to the presence of long-chain AHLs with the expression of Gfp. This monitor strain was used to demonstrate that the indigenous bacterial community colonizing the roots of tomato plants growing in nonsterile soil produces AHL molecules. The results strongly support the view that AHL signal molecules serve as a universal language for communication between the different bacterial populations of the rhizosphere consortium.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
    Volume67
    Issue number12
    Pages (from-to)5761-5770
    ISSN0099-2240
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2001

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