Vibrio harveyi quorum sensing: a coincidence detector for two autoinducers controls gene expression.
In a process called quorum sensing, bacteria communicate with one another by exchanging chemical signals called autoinducers. In the bioluminescent marine bacterium Vibrio harveyi, two different auto inducers (AI-1 and AI-2) regulate light emission. Detection of and response to the V.harveyi autoinducers are accomplished through two two-component sensory relay systems: AI-1 is detected by the sensor LuxN and AI-2 by LuxPQ. Here we further define the V.harveyi quorum-sensing regulon by identifying 10 new quorum-sensing-controlled target genes. Our examination of signal processing and integration in the V.harveyi quorum-sensing circuit suggests that AI-1 and AI-2 act synergistically, and that the V.harveyi quorum-sensing circuit may function exclusively as a 'coincidence detector' that discriminates between conditions in which both autoinducers are present and all other conditions.