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Identification and characterization of a GDSL esterase gene located proximal to the swr quorum-sensing system of Serratia liquefaciens MG1

, : Identification and characterization of a GDSL esterase gene located proximal to the swr quorum-sensing system of Serratia liquefaciens MG1. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 69(7): 3901-3910

Serratia liquefaciens MG1 employs the swr quorum-sensing system to control various functions, including production of extracellular enzymes and swarming motility. Here we report the sequencing of the swr flanking DNA regions. We identified a gene upstream of swrR and transcribed in the same direction, designated estA, which encodes an esterase that belongs to family II of lipolytic enzymes. EstA was heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli, and the substrate specificity of the enzyme was determined in crude extracts. With the aid of zymograms visualizing EstA on polyacrylamide gels and by the analysis of a transcriptional fusion of the estA promoter to the promoterless luxAB genes, we showed that expression of the esterase is not regulated by the swr quorum-sensing system. An estA mutant was generated and was found to exhibit growth defects on minimal medium containing Tween 20 or Tween 80 as the sole carbon source. Moreover, we show that the mutant produces greatly reduced amounts of N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules on Tween-containing medium compared with the wild type, suggesting that under certain growth conditions EstA may be important for providing the cell with precursors required for AHL biosynthesis.


PMID: 12839759

DOI: 10.1128/AEM.69.7.3901-3910.2003

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