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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02174

Insights into Nitric Oxide Modulated Quorum Sensing Pathways

  • 1Stony Brook University, United States

The emerging threat of drug resistant bacteria has prompted the investigation into bacterial signaling pathways responsible for pathogenesis. One such mechanism by which bacteria regulate their physiology during infection of a host is through a process known as quorum sensing. Bacteria use quorum sensing to regulate community-wide gene expression in response to changes in population density. In order to sense these changes in population density, bacteria produce, secrete and detect small molecules called autoinducers. The most common signals detected by Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria are acylated homoserine lactones and autoinducing peptides, respectively. However, increasing evidence has supported a role for the small molecule nitric oxide (NO) in influencing quorum sensing-mediated group behaviors like bioluminescence, biofilm production, and virulence. In this review, we discuss three bacteria that have an established role for NO in influencing bacterial physiology through quorum sensing circuits. In two Vibrio species, NO has been shown to affect quorum sensing pathways upon coordination of hemoprotein sensors. Further, NO has been demonstrated to serve a protective role against staphylococcal pneumonia through S-nitrosylation of a quorum sensing regulator of virulence.

Keywords: Nitric Oxide, Quorum Sensing, Gas sensing, Hemoprotein, Virulence, Biofilm

Received: 12 Jun 2019; Accepted: 05 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Heckler and Boon. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Elizabeth M. Boon, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, 11794, New York, United States, elizabeth.boon@stonybrook.edu