Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 78, Issue 5, pp 811–819 | Cite as

Temporal regulation of enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli virulence mediated by autoinducer-2

  • Tarun Bansal
  • Palmy Jesudhasan
  • Suresh Pillai
  • Thomas K. Wood
  • Arul JayaramanEmail author
Genomics and Proteomics


The autoinducer-2 (AI-2) molecule is produced by many bacterial species, including various human gastrointestinal (GI) tract commensal bacteria, and has been proposed to be involved in interspecies communication. Because pathogens are likely to encounter AI-2 in the GI tract, we studied the effects of AI-2 on various phenotypes associated with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) infections. AI-2 attracted EHEC in agarose plug chemotaxis assays and also increased swimming motility, as well as increased EHEC attachment to HeLa cells. The molecular basis underlying the stimulation of EHEC chemotaxis, motility, and colonization by AI-2 was investigated at the transcriptome level using DNA microarrays. We found that exposure to AI-2 altered the expression of 23 locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE) genes directly involved in the production of virulence determinants, as well as other genes associated with virulence (e.g., 46 flagellar/fimbrial genes, 24 iron-related genes), in a temporally defined manner. To our knowledge, this is the first study to report AI-2-mediated regulation of EHEC chemotaxis and colonization, as well as temporal regulation of EHEC transcriptome by AI-2. Our results suggest that AI-2 is an important signal in EHEC infections of the human GI tract.


AI-2 Virulence Enterohemorrhagic E. coli 



This work was supported by funds from the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (to A.J.) and the National Institutes of Health (EB003872-01) (to T.K.W.). We thank Dr. V. Sperandio for kindly providing the VS94 strain.

Supplementary material

253_2008_1359_MOESM1_ESM.doc (335 kb)
Supplemental Table 1 Summary of changes in VS94 gene expression in presence of AI-2. Relative changes less than 1 indicate the genes were repressed in presence of AI-2. Relative changes greater than 1 indicate genes were induced in presence of AI-2. (DOC 335 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tarun Bansal
    • 1
  • Palmy Jesudhasan
    • 4
  • Suresh Pillai
    • 4
  • Thomas K. Wood
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Arul Jayaraman
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Zachry Department of Civil EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.Food Safety and Environmental Microbiology Program, Department of Poultry Science and Nutrition & Food ScienceTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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