Gene network homology in prokaryotes using a similarity search approach: queries of quorum sensing signal transduction.

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TitleGene network homology in prokaryotes using a similarity search approach: queries of quorum sensing signal transduction.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsQuan, DN, Bentley, WE
JournalPLoS Comput Biol
Date Published2012
KeywordsBacterial Physiological Phenomena, Gene Regulatory Networks, Operon, Prokaryotic Cells, Quorum Sensing, Signal Transduction

Bacterial cell-cell communication is mediated by small signaling molecules known as autoinducers. Importantly, autoinducer-2 (AI-2) is synthesized via the enzyme LuxS in over 80 species, some of which mediate their pathogenicity by recognizing and transducing this signal in a cell density dependent manner. AI-2 mediated phenotypes are not well understood however, as the means for signal transduction appears varied among species, while AI-2 synthesis processes appear conserved. Approaches to reveal the recognition pathways of AI-2 will shed light on pathogenicity as we believe recognition of the signal is likely as important, if not more, than the signal synthesis. LMNAST (Local Modular Network Alignment Similarity Tool) uses a local similarity search heuristic to study gene order, generating homology hits for the genomic arrangement of a query gene sequence. We develop and apply this tool for the E. coli lac and LuxS regulated (Lsr) systems. Lsr is of great interest as it mediates AI-2 uptake and processing. Both test searches generated results that were subsequently analyzed through a number of different lenses, each with its own level of granularity, from a binary phylogenetic representation down to trackback plots that preserve genomic organizational information. Through a survey of these results, we demonstrate the identification of orthologs, paralogs, hitchhiking genes, gene loss, gene rearrangement within an operon context, and also horizontal gene transfer (HGT). We found a variety of operon structures that are consistent with our hypothesis that the signal can be perceived and transduced by homologous protein complexes, while their regulation may be key to defining subsequent phenotypic behavior.

Alternate JournalPLoS Comput. Biol.
PubMed ID22916001
PubMed Central IDPMC3420918