Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 913–923

The RNPP family of quorum-sensing proteins in Gram-positive bacteria

  • Jorge Rocha-Estrada
  • Angel E. Aceves-Diez
  • Gabriel Guarneros
  • Mayra de la Torre
Mini-Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00253-010-2651-y

Cite this article as:
Rocha-Estrada, J., Aceves-Diez, A.E., Guarneros, G. et al. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2010) 87: 913. doi:10.1007/s00253-010-2651-y

Abstract

Quorum sensing is one of several mechanisms that bacterial cells use to interact with each other and coordinate certain physiological processes in response to cell density. This mechanism is mediated by extracellular signaling molecules; once a critical threshold concentration has been reached, a target sensor kinase or response regulator is activated (or repressed), facilitating the expression of quorum sensing-dependent genes. Gram-positive bacteria mostly use oligo-peptides as signaling molecules. These cells have a special kind of quorum-sensing systems in which the receptor protein interacts directly with its cognate signaling peptide. The receptors are either Rap phosphatases or transcriptional regulators and integrate the protein family RNPP, from Rap, Npr, PlcR, and PrgX. These quorum-sensing systems control several microbial processes, like sporulation, virulence, biofilm formation, conjugation, and production of extracellular enzymes. Insights of the mechanism of protein-signaling peptide binding as well as the molecular interaction among receptor protein, signaling peptide, and target DNA have changed some earlier perceptions. In spite of the increased knowledge and the potential biotechnological applications of these quorum-sensing systems, few examples on engineering for biotechnological applications have been published. Real applications will arise only when researchers working in applied microbiology and biotechnology are aware of the importance of quorum-sensing systems for health and bioprocess applications.

Keywords

Quorum sensingSignaling peptidesRNPP protein familyGram-positive bacteria

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jorge Rocha-Estrada
    • 1
  • Angel E. Aceves-Diez
    • 1
  • Gabriel Guarneros
    • 2
  • Mayra de la Torre
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación en Alimentación y Desarrollo, A. C.HermosilloMéxico
  2. 2.Departamento de Genética y Biología MolecularCentro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico NacionalMéxicoMéxico