The Multiple DSF-family QS Signals are Synthesized from Carbohydrate and Branched-chain Amino Acids via the FAS Elongation Cycle

Sci Rep. 2015 Aug 20;5:13294. doi: 10.1038/srep13294.


Members of the diffusible signal factor (DSF) family are a novel class of quorum sensing (QS) signals in diverse Gram-negative bacteria. Although previous studies have identified RpfF as a key enzyme for the biosynthesis of DSF family signals, many questions in their biosynthesis remain to be addressed. In this study with the phytopathogen Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc), we show that Xcc produces four DSF-family signals (DSF, BDSF, CDSF and IDSF) during cell culture, and that IDSF is a new functional signal characterized as cis-10-methyl-2-dodecenoic acid. Using a range of defined media, we further demonstrate that Xcc mainly produces BDSF in the presence of carbohydrates; leucine and valine are the primary precursor for DSF biosynthesis; isoleucine is the primary precursor for IDSF biosynthesis. Furthermore, our biochemical analyses show that the key DSF synthase RpfF has both thioesterase and dehydratase activities, and uses 3-hydroxydedecanoyl-ACP as a substrate to produce BDSF. Finally, our results show that the classic fatty acid synthesis elongation cycle is required for the biosynthesis of DSF-family signals. Taken all together, these findings establish a general biosynthetic pathway for the DSF-family quorum sensing signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Biosynthetic Pathways / drug effects
  • Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Cerulenin / pharmacology
  • Diffusion
  • Fatty Acids / biosynthesis*
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Models, Biological
  • Quorum Sensing / drug effects*
  • Thiolester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Xanthomonas campestris / drug effects
  • Xanthomonas campestris / genetics
  • Xanthomonas campestris / growth & development


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids
  • Cerulenin
  • Thiolester Hydrolases
  • oleoyl-(acyl-carrier-protein) hydrolase