The quorum-sensing molecule N-3-oxododecanoyl homoserine lactone (3OC12-HSL) enhances the host defence by activating human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN)

  • Christof Wagner
  • Sabine Zimmermann
  • Gerald Brenner-Weiss
  • Friederike Hug
  • Birgit Prior
  • Ursula Obst
  • Gertrud Maria Hänsch
Original Paper


The P. aeruginosa quorum-sensing molecule N-3-oxododecanoyl homoserine lactone (3OC12-HSL) interacts not only with bacteria, but also with mammalian cells, among others with those of the immune defence system. We focussed on the possible interaction of 3OC12-HSL with human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), because these cells are the first to enter an infected site. We found that 3OC12-HSL attracts PMN, and up-regulates expression of receptors known to be involved in host defence, including the adhesion proteins CD11b/CD18 and the immunoglobulin receptors CD16 and CD64. Furthermore, the uptake of bacteria (phagocytosis), which is crucial for an efficient defence against infection, was enhanced. Thus, recognising and responding to 3OC12-HSL not only attracts the PMN to the site of a developing biofilm, but also reinforces their defence mechanisms, and hence could be a means to control the infection in an early stage and to prevent biofilm formation.


Quorum sensing PMN Functional activity Homoserine lactone Host defence 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christof Wagner
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sabine Zimmermann
    • 1
  • Gerald Brenner-Weiss
    • 3
  • Friederike Hug
    • 1
  • Birgit Prior
    • 1
  • Ursula Obst
    • 3
  • Gertrud Maria Hänsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Immunologie der Universität HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Klinik für Unfall- und WiederherstellungschirurgieBerufsgenossenschaftliche Unfallklinik LudwigshafenLudwigshafenGermany
  3. 3.Institut für Technische ChemieForschungszentrum KarlsruheEggenstein-LeopoldshafenGermany

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