Quorum Sensing-Controlled Gene Expression Systems in Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Bacteria

  • Meghanath PrabhuEmail author
  • Milind Naik
  • Veda Manerikar


In this chapter, quorum sensing (QS)-controlled gene expression systems in Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria is particularly emphasized. Acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) autoinducer (AI)-mediated signalling is a communication system in Gram-negative bacteria that control specific genes expression imparting physiological characteristics such as biofilm formation, bioluminescence, antibiotic synthesis, plasmid transfer, virulence factor, metal resistance and hydrocarbon degradation. AI concentrations reach a threshold level when adequate bacterial density is present that allows sensing a critical cell mass and in response they activate or repress target genes expression. Strikingly, AI binds the LuxR-type proteins, triggering them bind DNA and activate transcription of target genes. Synthesis of the AHL is dependent on a luxI homologue and a luxR homologue encoding a transcriptional activator protein, which is accountable for recognition of the cognate AHL and expression of correct gene. Gram-positive bacterial QS systems typically use secreted small oligopeptides via a dedicated ABC (ATP-binding cassette) exporter protein and two-component systems, which involve membrane-bound sensor kinase receptors and transcription factors present in cytoplasm which is responsible for alterations in gene expression. The process of signal transduction takes place as a phosphorelay cascade.


Quorum sensing (QS) Acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) Autoinducer (AI) ABC (ATP-binding cassette) Controlled gene expression 



Author MP and MN would like to thank for the financial support provided by Goa University. MN thanks the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), Department of Science and Technology, and Government of India for financial support by the Young Scientist Project (File Number: YSS/2014/000258).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyGoa UniversityTaleigao PlateauIndia

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