The Bacillus subtilis quorum-sensing molecule CSF contributes to intestinal homeostasis via OCTN2, a host cell membrane transporter

Cell Host Microbe. 2007 Jun 14;1(4):299-308. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2007.05.004.


Bacteria use quorum-sensing molecules (QSMs) to communicate within as well as across species. However, the effects of QSMs on eukaryotic host cells have received limited attention. We report that the quorum-sensing pentapeptide, competence and sporulation factor (CSF), of the Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis activates key survival pathways, including p38 MAP kinase and protein kinase B (Akt), in intestinal epithelial cells. CSF also induces cytoprotective heat shock proteins (Hsps), which prevent oxidant-induced intestinal epithelial cell injury and loss of barrier function. These effects of CSF depend on its uptake by an apical membrane organic cation transporter-2 (OCTN2). Thus, OCTN2-mediated CSF transport serves as an example of a host-bacterial interaction that allows the host to monitor and respond to changes in the behavior or composition of colonic flora.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / drug effects
  • Bacillus subtilis / growth & development
  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / physiology
  • Caco-2 Cells
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colon / microbiology
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / microbiology
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Organic Cation Transport Proteins / physiology*
  • Quorum Sensing / physiology*
  • Solute Carrier Family 22 Member 5
  • Spores, Bacterial / physiology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Organic Cation Transport Proteins
  • SLC22A5 protein, human
  • Solute Carrier Family 22 Member 5