Article: Scientific reports

HqiA, a novel quorum-quenching enzyme which expands the AHL lactonase family.M Torres, S Uroz, R Salto, L Fauchery, E Quesada, I Llamas Scientific reports 7 (1), 943


The screening of a metagenomic library of 250,000 clones generated from a hypersaline soil (Spain) allowed us to identify a single positive clone which confers the ability to degrade N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs). The sequencing of the fosmid revealed a 42,318 bp environmental insert characterized by 46 ORFs. The subcloning of these ORFs demonstrated that a single gene (hqiA) allowed AHL degradation. Enzymatic analysis using puri ed HqiA and HPLC/MS revealed that this protein has lactonase activity on a broad range of AHLs. The introduction of hqiA in the plant pathogen Pectobacterium carotovorum e ciently interfered with both the synthesis of AHLs and quorum-sensing regulated functions, such as swarming motility and the production of maceration enzymes. Bioinformatic analyses highlighted that HqiA showed no sequence homology with the known prototypic AHL lactonases or acylases, thus expanding the AHL-degrading enzymes with a new family related to the cysteine hydrolase (CHase) group. The complete sequence analysis of the fosmid showed that 31 ORFs out of the 46 identi ed were related to Deltaproteobacteria, whilst many intercalated ORFs presented high homology with other taxa. In this sense, hqiA appeared to be assigned to the Hyphomonas genus (Alphaproteobacteria), suggesting that horizontal gene transfer had occurred.