A nitric oxide-responsive quorum sensing circuit in Vibrio harveyi regulates flagella production and biofilm formation.
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Cell signaling plays an important role in the survival of bacterial colonies. They use small molecules to coordinate gene expression in a cell density dependent manner. This process, known as quorum sensing, helps bacteria regulate diverse functions such as bioluminescence, biofilm formation and virulence. In Vibrio harveyi, a bioluminescent marine bacterium, four parallel quorum-sensing systems have been identified to regulate light production. We have previously reported that nitric oxide (NO), through the H-NOX/HqsK quorum sensing pathway contributes to light production in V. harveyi through the LuxU/LuxO/LuxR quorum sensing pathway. In this study, we show that nitric oxide (NO) also regulates flagellar production and enhances biofilm formation. Our data suggest that V. harveyi is capable of switching between lifestyles to be able to adapt to changes in the environment.
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