Quorum sensing controls Vibrio cholerae multicellular aggregate formation

  1. Matthew Jemielita
  2. Ned S Wingreen
  3. Bonnie L Bassler  Is a corresponding author
  1. Princeton University, United States

Abstract

Bacteria communicate and collectively regulate gene expression using a process called quorum sensing (QS). QS relies on group-wide responses to signal molecules called autoinducers. Here, we show that QS activates a new program of multicellularity in Vibrio cholerae. This program, which we term aggregation, is distinct from the canonical surface-biofilm formation program, which QS represses. Aggregation is induced by autoinducers, occurs rapidly in cell suspensions, and does not require cell-division, features strikingly dissimilar from those characteristic of V. cholerae biofilm formation. Extracellular DNA limits aggregate size, but is not sufficient to drive aggregation. A mutagenesis screen identifies genes required for aggregate formation, revealing proteins involved in V. cholerae intestinal colonization, stress response, and a protein that distinguishes the current V. cholerae pandemic strain from earlier pandemic strains. We suggest that QS-controlled aggregate formation is important for V. cholerae to successfully transit between the marine niche and the human host.

Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data files have been provided for all quantitative data.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Matthew Jemielita

    Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Ned S Wingreen

    Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-7384-2821
  3. Bonnie L Bassler

    Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, United States
    For correspondence
    bbassler@princeton.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-0043-746X

Funding

Howard Hughes Medical Institute

  • Bonnie L Bassler

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (R01GM082938)

  • Ned S Wingreen

Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung

  • Bonnie L Bassler

National Science Foundation (MCB-1713731)

  • Bonnie L Bassler

National Institute of General Medical Sciences (2R37GM065859)

  • Bonnie L Bassler

National Science Foundation (PHY-1734030)

  • Matthew Jemielita

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Gisela Storz, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: September 16, 2018
  2. Accepted: December 23, 2018
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: December 24, 2018 (version 1)
  4. Version of Record published: January 29, 2019 (version 2)

Copyright

© 2018, Jemielita et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Matthew Jemielita
  2. Ned S Wingreen
  3. Bonnie L Bassler
(2018)
Quorum sensing controls Vibrio cholerae multicellular aggregate formation
eLife 7:e42057.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.42057

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