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Title: Functional metagenomic analysis of quorum sensing signaling in a nitrifying community
Authors: Tan, Chuan Hao
Yeo, Yee Phan
Muhammad Hafiz Ismail
Ng, Noele Kai Jing
Subramoni, Sujatha
Taj, Shireen
Tay, Martin
Chao, Xie
Kjelleberg, Staffan
Rice, Scott A.
Keywords: Science::Biological sciences::Microbiology
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Tan, C. H., Yeo, Y. P., Muhammad Hafiz Ismail, Ng, N. K. J., Subramoni, S., Taj, S., Tay, M., Chao, X., Kjelleberg, S. & Rice, S. A. (2021). Functional metagenomic analysis of quorum sensing signaling in a nitrifying community. Npj Biofilms and Microbiomes, 7(1), 79-.
Journal: npj Biofilms and Microbiomes 
Abstract: Quorum sensing (QS) can function to shape the microbial community interactions, composition, and function. In wastewater treatment systems, acylated homoserine lactone (AHL)-based QS has been correlated with the conversion of floccular biomass into microbial granules, as well as EPS production and the nitrogen removal process. However, the role of QS in such complex communities is still not fully understood, including the QS-proficient taxa and the functional QS genes involved. To address these questions, we performed a metagenomic screen for AHL genes in an activated sludge microbial community from the Ulu Pandan wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Singapore followed by functional validation of luxI activity using AHL biosensors and LC-MSMS profiling. We identified 13 luxI and 30 luxR homologs from the activated sludge metagenome. Of those genes, two represented a cognate pair of luxIR genes belonging to a Nitrospira spp. and those genes were demonstrated to be functionally active. The LuxI homolog synthesized AHLs that were consistent with the dominant AHLs in the activated sludge system. Furthermore, the LuxR homolog was shown to bind to and induce expression of the luxI promoter, suggesting this represents an autoinduction feedback system, characteristic of QS circuits. Additionally, a second, active promoter was upstream of a gene encoding a protein with a GGDEF/EAL domain, commonly associated with modulating the intracellular concentration of the secondary messenger, c-di-GMP. Thus, the metagenomic approach used here was demonstrated to effectively identify functional QS genes and suggests that Nitrospira spp. maybe QS is active in the activated sludge community.
ISSN: 2055-5008
DOI: 10.1038/s41522-021-00250-3
DOI (Related Dataset): 10.21979/N9/6OLO7I
Rights: © 2021 The Author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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