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Open Access Research article

Cis-2-dodecenoic acid signal modulates virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa through interference with quorum sensing systems and T3SS

Yinyue Deng12*, Calvin Boon1, Shaohua Chen2, Amy Lim1 and Lian-Hui Zhang12*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Proteos, 61 Biopolis Drive, Singapore, 138673, Singapore

2 College of Natural Resources and Environment, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, People's Republic of China

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BMC Microbiology 2013, 13:231  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-13-231

Published: 18 October 2013



Cis-2-dodecenoic acid (BDSF) is well known for its important functions in intraspecies signaling in Burkholderia cenocepacia. Previous work has also established an important role of BDSF in interspecies and inter-kingdom communications. It was identified that BDSF modulates virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. However, how BDSF interferes with virulence of P. aeruginosa is still not clear.


We report here that BDSF mediates the cross-talk between B. cenocepacia and P. aeruginosa through interference with quorum sensing (QS) systems and type III secretion system (T3SS) of P. aeruginosa. Bioassay results revealed that exogenous addition of BDSF not only reduced the transcriptional expression of the regulator encoding gene of QS systems, i.e., lasR, pqsR, and rhlR, but also simultaneously decreased the production of QS signals including 3-oxo-C12-HSL, Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) and C4-HSL, consequently resulting in the down-regulation of biofilm formation and virulence factor production of P. aeruginosa. Furthermore, BDSF and some of its derivatives are also capable of inhibiting T3SS of P. aeruginosa at a micromolar level. Treatment with BDSF obviously reduced the virulence of P. aeruginosa in both HeLa cell and zebrafish infection models.


These results depict that BDSF modulates virulence of P. aeruginosa through interference with QS systems and T3SS.