Salmonella typhimurium encodes an SdiA homolog, a putative quorum sensor of the LuxR family, that regulates genes on the virulence plasmid

Brian M.M. Ahmer, Jeroen Van Reeuwijk, Cynthia D. Timmers, Peter J. Valentine, Fred Heffron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

199 Scopus citations


Quorum sensing is a phenomenon in which bacteria sense and respond to their own population density by releasing and sensing pheromones. In gram- negative bacteria, quorum sensing is often performed by the LuxR family of transcriptional regulators, which affect phenotypes as diverse as conjugation, bioluminescence, and virulence gene expression. The gene encoding one LuxR family member, named sdiA (suppressor of cell division inhibition), is present in the Escherichia coli genome. In this report, we have cloned the Salmonella typhimurium homolog of SdiA and performed a systematic screen for sdiA-regulated genes. A 4.4-kb fragment encoding the S. typhimurium sdiA gene was sequenced and found to encode the 3' end of YecC (homologous to amino acid transporters of the ABC family), all of SdiA and SirA (Salmonella invasion regulator), and the 5' end of UvrC. This gene organization is conserved between E. coli and S. typhimurium. We determined that the S. typhimurium sdiA gene was able to weakly complement the E. coli sdi4 gene for activation of ftsQAZ at promoter 2 and for suppression of filamentation caused by an ftsZ(Ts) allele. To better understand the function of sdiA in S. typhimurium, we screened 10,000 random lacZY transcriptional fusions (MudJ transposon mutations) for regulation by sdiA. Ten positively regulated fusions were isolated. Seven of the fusions were within an apparent operon containing ORF8, ORF9, rck (resistance to complement killing), and ORF11 of the S. typhimurium virulence plasmid. The three ORFs have now been named srgA, srgB, and srgC (for sdiA-regulated gene), respectively. The DNA sequence adjacent to the remaining three fusions shared no similarity with previously described genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1193
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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