Pantoea agglomerans YS19, an endophytic diazotrophic bacterium isolated from rice, is characterized by the formation of multicellular aggregate structure called symplasmata, which not only bestow the strong stress-resistance of the bacterium, but also contribute to the specific adaptation in the endophyte-host association. Acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs), as the important signal molecule in the quorum sensing (QS) system of gram-negative bacteria, were demonstrated to regulate motility, cell-aggregation, and other bacterial behaviors. Here, the production of AHL by P. agglomerans YS19 and its regulation on the symplasmata formation were studied. It was revealed that the production of AHL by YS19 was initiated at the exponential growth stage and from then on, reached the peak values at the stationary growth stage in LB medium. The AHL was identified as N-3-oxooctanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (OOHL) by MALDI-TOF-MS analysis. The AHL synthesis gene pagI and receptor gene pagR in YS19 were cloned and phylogenetic analysis showed that they were high conservative among strains in species of P. agglomerans. It was revealed that AHL promoted the bacterial growth and symplasmata formation of YS19. Meanwhile, the colonization ability and growth-promoting effect of YS19 on the host plant were also enhanced by AHL. These results strongly suggest the pleiotropic effects of the AHL-type QS system in endophytic life of the strain.
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