Mammalian airways protect themselves from bacterial infection by using multiple defense mechanisms including antimicrobial peptides, mucociliary clearance, and phagocytic cells. We asked whether airways might also target a key bacterial cell-cell communication system, quorum-sensing. The opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses two quorum-sensing molecules, N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (3OC12-HSL) and N-butanoyl-L-homoserine lactone (C4-HSL), to control production of extracellular virulence factors and biofilm formation. We found that differentiated human airway epithelia inactivated 3OC12-HSL. Inactivation was selective for acyl-HSLs with certain acyl side chains, and C4-HSL was not inactivated. In addition, the capacity for inactivation varied widely in different cell types. 3OC12-HSL was inactivated by a cell-associated activity rather than a secreted factor. These data suggest that the ability of human airway epithelia to inactivate quorum-sensing signal molecules could play a role in the innate defense against bacterial infection.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 9 2004|
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