Quorum sensing and virulence regulation in Xanthomonas campestris
It is now clear that cell-cell communication, often referred to as quorum sensing (QS), is the norm in the prokaryotic kingdom and this community-wide genetic regulatory mechanism has been adopted for regulation of many important biological functions. Since the 1980s, several types of QS signals have been identified, which are associated commonly with different types of QS mechanisms. Among them, the diffusible signal factor (DSF)-dependent QS system, originally discovered from bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris, is a relatively new regulatory mechanism. The rapid research progress over the last few years has identified the chemical structure of the QS signal DSF, established the DSF regulon, and unveiled the general signaling pathways and mechanisms. Particular noteworthy are that DSF biosynthesis is modulated by a novel posttranslational autoinduction mechanism involving protein-protein interaction between the DSF synthase RpfF and the sensor RpfC, and that QS signal sensing is coupled to intracellular regulatory networks through a second messenger cyclic-di-GMP and a global regulator Clp. Genomic and genetic analyses show that the DSF QS-signaling pathway regulates diverse biological functions including virulence, biofilm dispersal, and ecological competence. Moreover, evidence is emerging that the DSF QS system is conserved in a range of plant and human bacterial pathogens.