Density-dependent gene expression, quorum sensing (QS), involves the synthesis and detection of low-molecular-weight molecules known as autoinducers. Inhibitors of bacterial QS systems offer potential treatment of infections with highly virulent or multidrug-resistant agents. We studied the effects on Bacillus anthracis growth and the virulence gene (pagA, lef, and cya) expression of the QS inhibitor (5Z)-4-bromo-5-(bromomethylene)-3-butyl-2(5H)-furanone, which is naturally synthesized by the marine alga Delisea pulchra, as well as a related compound and synthetic derivatives. Growth of B. anthracis Sterne strain was substantially reduced in the presence of each furanone in a dose-dependent manner. When furanones were added to midlog-phase cultures of B. anthracis strains with LacZ reporters in pagA, lef, or cya, growth was inhibited, and expression of these virulence genes was inhibited to a proportionately greater extent. These data suggest that use of QS inhibitors could represent novel therapies for anthrax.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health