Directed evolution of the autoinducer selectivity of Vibrio fischeri LuxR

Yohei Tashiro, Yuki Kimura, Maiko Furubayashi, Akira Tanaka, Kei Terakubo, Kyoichi Saito, Shigeko Kawai-Noma, Daisuke Umeno*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


LuxR family transcriptional regulators are the core components of quorum sensing in Gram-negative bacteria and exert their effects through binding to the signaling molecules acyl-homoserine lactones (acyl-HSLs). The function of the LuxR homologs is remarkably plastic, and naturally occurring acyl-HSLs are structurally diverse. To investigate the molecular basis of the functional plasticity of Vibrio fischeri LuxR, we directed the evolution of LuxR toward three different specificities in the laboratory. We found an orthogonal pair of LuxR mutants specific either to 3-oxo-hexanoyl homoserine lactone or to 3-oxo-octanoyl homoserine lactone. Interestingly, the majority of the specificity changes did not arise from modulating the recognition event but rather from changing the efficiency of the transition from the inactive form to the active form upon signal binding. This finding explains how quorum sensing systems can rapidly diverge in nature and in the laboratory and how signal orthogonality and mutual inhibition frequently occur among closely related diverging systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of General and Applied Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Agonist
  • Antagonist
  • Orthogonal system
  • Quorum sensing
  • Synthetic biology
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


Dive into the research topics of 'Directed evolution of the autoinducer selectivity of Vibrio fischeri LuxR'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this