A mobile quorum-sensing system in Serratia marcescens

Jun Rong Wei, Yu Huan Tsai, Yu Tze Horng, Po Chi Soo, Shang Chen Hsieh, Po Ren Hsueh, Jim Tong Horng, Paul Williams, Hsin Chih Lai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Quorum-sensing systems that have been widely identified in bacteria play important roles in the regulation of bacterial multicellular behavior by which bacteria sense population density to control various biological functions, including virulence. One characteristic of the luxIR quorum-sensing genes is their diverse and discontinuous distribution among proteobacteria. Here we report that the spnIR quorum-sensing system identified in the enterobacterium Serratia marcescens strain SS-1 is carried in a transposon, TnTIR, which has common characteristics of Tn3 family transposons and is mobile between chromosomes and plasmids of different enterobacterial hosts. SpnIR functions in the new host and was shown to negatively regulate the TnTIR transposition frequency. This finding may help reveal the horizontal transfer and evolutionary mechanism of quorum-sensing genes and alter the way that we perceive regulation of bacterial multicellular behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1518-1525
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bacteriology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2006


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