A stochastic model of Escherichia coli AI-2 quorum signal circuit reveals alternative synthesis pathways

Jun Li, Liang Wang, Yoshifumi Hashimoto, Chen Yu Tsao, Thomas K. Wood, James J. Valdes, Evanghelos Zafiriou, William E. Bentley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Quorum sensing (QS) is an important determinant of bacterial phenotype. Many cell functions are regulated by intricate and multimodal QS signal transduction processes. The LuxS/AI-2 QS system is highly conserved among Eubacteria and AI-2 is reported as a 'universal' signal molecule. To understand the hierarchical organization of AI-2 circuitry, a comprehensive approach incorporating stochastic simulations was developed. We investigated the synthesis, uptake, and regulation of AI-2, developed testable hypotheses, and made several discoveries: (1) the mRNA transcript and protein levels of AI-2 synthases, Pfs and LuxS, do not contribute to the dramatically increased level of AI-2 found when cells are grown in the presence of glucose; (2) a concomitant increase in metabolic flux through this synthesis pathway in the presence of glucose only partially accounts for this difference. We predict that 'high-flux' alternative pathways or additional biological steps are involved in AI-2 synthesis; and (3) experimental results validate this hypothesis. This work demonstrates the utility of linking cell physiology with systems-based stochastic models that can be assembled de novo with partial knowledge of biochemical pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number67
JournalMolecular Systems Biology
StatePublished - May 16 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Applied Mathematics
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'A stochastic model of Escherichia coli AI-2 quorum signal circuit reveals alternative synthesis pathways'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this