A simple mechanism for integration of quorum sensing and cAMP signalling in Vibrio cholerae

Lucas M Walker, James RJ Haycocks, Julia C Van Kessel, Triana N Dalia, Ankur B Dalia, David C Grainger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Many bacteria use quorum sensing to control changes in lifestyle. The process is regulated by microbially derived ‘autoinducer’ signalling molecules, that accumulate in the local environment. Individual cells sense autoinducer abundance, to infer population density, and alter their behaviour accordingly. In Vibrio cholerae, quorum-sensing signals are transduced by phosphorelay to the transcription factor LuxO. Unphosphorylated LuxO permits expression of HapR, which alters global gene expression patterns. In this work, we have mapped the genome-wide distribution of LuxO and HapR in V. cholerae. Whilst LuxO has a small regulon, HapR targets 32 loci. Many HapR targets coincide with sites for the cAMP receptor protein (CRP) that regulates the transcriptional response to carbon starvation. This overlap, also evident in other Vibrio species, results from similarities in the DNA sequence bound by each factor. At shared sites, HapR and CRP simultaneously contact the double helix and binding is stabilised by direct interaction of the two factors. Importantly, this involves a CRP surface that usually contacts RNA polymerase to stimulate transcription. As a result, HapR can block transcription activation by CRP. Thus, by interacting at shared sites, HapR and CRP integrate information from quorum sensing and cAMP signalling to control gene expression. This likely allows V. cholerae to regulate subsets of genes during the transition between aquatic environments and the human host.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberRP86699
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2023


  • quorum sensing
  • cyclic amp
  • Vibrio cholerae
  • Other
  • transcription
  • bacteria


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