Information processing and signal integration in bacterial quorum sensing

  • Mehta P
  • Goyal S
  • Long T
 et al. 
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Abstract

Bacteria communicate using secreted chemical signaling molecules called autoinducers in a process known as quorum sensing. The quorum-sensing network of the marine bacterium {\it Vibrio harveyi} employs three autoinducers, each known to encode distinct ecological information. Yet how cells integrate and interpret the information contained within the three autoinducer signals remains a mystery. Here, we develop a new framework for analyzing signal integration based on Information Theory and use it to analyze quorum sensing in {\it V. harveyi}. We quantify how much the cells can learn about individual autoinducers and explain the experimentally observed input-output relation of the {\it V. harveyi} quorum-sensing circuit. Our results suggest that the need to limit interference between input signals places strong constraints on the architecture of bacterial signal-integration networks, and that bacteria likely have evolved active strategies for minimizing this interference. Here we analyze two such strategies: manipulation of autoinducer production and feedback on receptor number ratios.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Molecular Networks
  • Quantitative Methods

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Authors

  • Pankaj Mehta

  • Sidhartha Goyal

  • Tao Long

  • B.L. Bassler

  • N.S. Wingreen

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