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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Vol. 98, No: 8, 2014, Pages:

Microbial metabolism of quorum-sensing molecules acyl-homoserine lactones, ?-heptalactone and other lactones

Maryam Safari, Rana Amache, Elham Esmaeilishirazifard, Tajalli Keshavarz

Applied Biotechnology Research Group, Faculty of Science and Technology, University of Westminster, London, W1W 6UW, UK.


The cell-to-cell communication of microorganisms is known to be via exertion of certain chemical compounds (signal molecules) and is referred to as quorum sensing (QS). QS phenomenon is widespread in microbial communities. Several Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and fungi use lactone-containing compounds (e.g. acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs), γ-heptalactone, butyrolactone-I) as signalling molecules. The ability of microorganisms to metabolise these compounds and the mechanisms they employ for this purpose are not clearly understood. Many studies, however, have focused on identifying AHL and other lactone-degrading enzymes produced by bacteria and fungi. Various strains that are able to utilise these signalling molecules as carbon and energy sources have also been isolated. In addition, several reports have provided evidence on the involvement of lactones and lactone-degrading enzymes in numerous biological functions. These studies, although focused on processes other than metabolism of lactone signalling molecules, still provide insights into further understanding of the mechanisms employed by various microorganisms to metabolise the QS compounds. In this review, we consider conceivable microbial strategies to metabolise AHL and other lactone-containing signalling molecules such as γ-heptalactones.  

Keywoards: Quorum sensing (QS); Acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL); γ-Heptalactone; Butyrolactone-IBacteria; Fungi; Metabolism.

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