The aim of this experiment was to use wild type and mutant strains of Chromobacterium violaceum to explore N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) based quorum sensing in Gram negative bacteria. AHLs are signal molecules produced by Gram negative rods. They regulate antibiotic synthesis, expression of virulence genes, biofilm formation, and several other cellular activities. Two genes are responsible for AHL mediated gene regulation. One encodes a transcriptional regulatory protein (R gene), and the other encodes the enzyme AHL synthase (I gene). The presence and proper functioning of these two genes is essential for the target genes to be transcribed. AHL synthase produces AHL molecules, which are classified by their side chain length and molecular structure. AHL synthases differ between each genus of bacteria, and produce AHL molecules that are slightly different from each other. Most regulator proteins that bind AHL molecules are specific for a certain AHL structure, but some can bind more than one type of AHL. This can create the phenomenon of cross-communication between different species of bacteria. This experiment was done to explore quorum sensing in Gram negative bacteria and determine if different species of bacteria could communicate with C. violaceum.
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