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Salmonella SdiA Recognizes N-acyl Homoserine Lactone Signals from Pectobacterium carotovorum in Vitro, but Not in a Bacterial Soft Rot

March 2010 , Volume 23 , Number  3
Pages  273 - 282

J. T. Noel,1 J. Joy,2 J. N. Smith,3 M. Fatica,2 K. R. Schneider,2 B. M. M. Ahmer,3 and M. Teplitski1

1Soil and Water Science Department and 2Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Florida-IFAS, Gainesville 32610, U.S.A.; 3Department of Microbiology, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, U.S.A.

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Accepted 17 October 2009.

Genomes of Salmonella enterica isolates, including those linked to outbreaks of produce-associated gastroenteritis, contain sdiA, which encodes a receptor of N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHL). AHL are the quorum-sensing signals used by bacteria to coordinately regulate gene expression within -their populations. Because S. enterica does not produce its own AHL, SdiA is hypothesized to function in the interspecies cross-talk with AHL-producing bacteria. Under laboratory conditions, S. enterica responded to AHL from phytobacteria by upregulating expression of srgE. AHL-dependent expression of srgE required a functional sdiA. Essentially, no sdiA-dependent resolution of the srgE recombinase-based (RIVET) reporter was observed inside a soft rot formed on a tomato by an AHL-producing strain of Pectobacterium carotovorum. The results of the control experiments suggest that sdiA is not expressed inside tomato, pepper, green onion, or carrot affected by the soft rot, and the lack of sdiA expression in planta prevents Salmonella spp. from responding to AHL. Despite its inability to detect and respond to AHL during colonization of soft rots, S. enterica reached higher final cell numbers inside a tomato soft rot compared with its growth in intact tomato fruit. The synergistic effect was the strongest under the conditions that are typical for the Florida fall/winter production season.

© 2010 The American Phytopathological Society