Quorum Sensing Desynchronization Leads to Bimodality and Patterned Behaviors.

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TitleQuorum Sensing Desynchronization Leads to Bimodality and Patterned Behaviors.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsQuan, DN, Tsao, C-Y, Wu, H-C, Bentley, WE
JournalPLoS Comput Biol
Date Published2016 Apr

Quorum Sensing (QS) drives coordinated phenotypic outcomes among bacterial populations. Its role in mediating infectious disease has led to the elucidation of numerous autoinducers and their corresponding QS signaling pathways. Among them, the Lsr (LuxS-regulated) QS system is conserved in scores of bacteria, and its signal molecule, autoinducer-2 (AI-2), is synthesized as a product of 1-carbon metabolism. Lsr signal transduction processes, therefore, may help organize population scale activities in numerous bacterial consortia. Conceptions of how Lsr QS organizes population scale behaviors remain limited, however. Using mathematical simulations, we examined how desynchronized Lsr QS activation, arising from cell-to-cell population heterogeneity, could lead to bimodal Lsr signaling and fractional activation. This has been previously observed experimentally. Governing these processes are an asynchronous AI-2 uptake, where positive intracellular feedback in Lsr expression is combined with negative feedback between cells. The resulting activation patterns differ from that of the more widely studied LuxIR system, the topology of which consists of only positive feedback. To elucidate differences, both QS systems were simulated in 2D, where cell populations grow and signal each other via traditional growth and diffusion equations. Our results demonstrate that the LuxIR QS system produces an 'outward wave' of autoinduction, and the Lsr QS system yields dispersed autoinduction from spatially-localized secretion and uptake profiles. In both cases, our simulations mirror previously demonstrated experimental results. As a whole, these models inform QS observations and synthetic biology designs.

Alternate JournalPLoS Comput. Biol.
PubMed ID27071007