Chemotaxis to self-generated AI-2 promotes biofilm formation in Escherichia coli. Academic Article uri icon


  • Responses to the interspecies quorum-sensing signal autoinducer-2 (AI-2) regulate the patterns of gene expression that promote biofilm development. Escherichia coli also senses AI-2 as a chemoattractant, a response that requires the periplasmic AI-2-binding protein LsrB and the chemoreceptor Tsr. Here, we confirm, as previously observed, that under static conditions highly motile E. coli cells self-aggregate and form surface-adherent structures more readily than cells lacking LsrB and Tsr, or than luxS cells unable to produce AI-2. This difference is observed both at 37 and 30C. Cells deleted for the genes encoding the lsrACDBFG operon repressor (lsrR), or the AI-2 kinase (lsrK), or an AI-2 uptake channel protein (lsrC), or an AI-2 metabolism enzyme (lsrG) are also defective in biofilm formation. The tsr and lsrB cells are totally defective in AI-2 chemotaxis, whereas the other mutants show normal or near-normal chemotaxis to external gradients of AI-2. These data demonstrate that chemotaxis to external AI-2 is necessary but not sufficient to induce the full range of density-dependent behaviours that are required for optimal biofilm formation. We also demonstrate that, compared to other binding-protein-dependent chemotaxis systems in E. coli, low levels (on the order of ~250molecules of periplasmic LsrB per wild-type cell and as low as ~50molecules per cell in some mutants) are adequate for a strong chemotaxis response to external gradients of AI-2.

published proceedings

  • Microbiology (Reading)

altmetric score

  • 4.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Jani, S., Seely, A. L., Peabody V, G. L., Jayaraman, A., & Manson, M. D.

citation count

  • 30

complete list of authors

  • Jani, Sneha||Seely, Andrew L||Peabody V, George L||Jayaraman, Arul||Manson, Michael D

publication date

  • December 2017