Role of luxS in Bacillus anthracis growth and virulence factor expression

Marcus B. Jones, Scott N. Peterson, Rosslyn Benn, John C. Braisted, Behnam Jarrahi, Kenneth Shatzkes, Dacheng Ren, Thomas K. Wood, Martin J. Blaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Quorum-sensing (Qs), the regulation of bacterial gene expression in response to changes in cell density, involves pathways that synthesize signaling molecules (auto-inducers). The luxS/AI-2-mediated QS system has been identified in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, possesses genes involved in luxS/ AI-2-mediated Qs, and deletion of luxS in B. anthracis sterne strain 34F2 results in inhibition of AI-2 synthesis and a growth defect. In the present study, we created a ΔluxS B. anthracis strain complemented in trans by insertion of a cassette, including luxS and a gene encoding erythromycin resistance, into the truncated plcR regulator locus. The complemented ΔluxS strain has restored AI-2 synthesis and wild-type growth. A B. anthracis microarray study revealed consistent differential gene expression between the wild-type and ΔluxS strain, including downregulation of the B. anthracis s-layer protein gene eA1 and pXO1 virulence genes. These data indicate that B. anthracis may use luxS/AI-2-mediated Qs to regulate growth, density-dependent gene expression and virulence factor expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-83
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2010


  • Furanone
  • Microarray
  • Quorum-sensing
  • Virulence
  • luxS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of luxS in Bacillus anthracis growth and virulence factor expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this