Caenorhabditis Elegans Recognizes a Bacterial Quorum-Sensing Signal Molecule Through the AWCON Neuron [Signal Transduction]

August 4th, 2014 by Werner, K. M., Perez, L. J., Ghosh, R., Semmelhack, M. f., Bassler, B. l.

In a process known as quorum sensing, bacteria use chemicals, called autoinducers, for cell-cell communication. Population-wide detection of autoinducers enables bacteria to orchestrate collective behaviors. In the animal kingdom, detection of chemicals is vital for success in locating food, ļ¬nding hosts, and avoiding predators. This behavior, termed chemotaxis, is especially well-studied in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Here, we demonstrate that the V. cholerae autoinducer, (S)-3-hydroxytridecan-4-one, termed CAI-1, influences chemotaxis in C. elegans. C. elegans prefers V. cholerae that produces CAI-1 over a V. cholerae mutant defective for CAI-1 production. The position of the CAI-1 ketone moiety is the key feature driving CAI-1-directed nematode behavior. CAI-1 is detected by the C. elegans amphid sensory neuron AWCON. Laser ablation of the AWCON cell, but not other amphid sensory neurons, abolished chemoattraction to CAI-1. These analyses define the structural features of a bacterial-produced signal and the nematode chemosensory neuron that permit cross-kingdom interaction.