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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(5), 10570-10581; doi:10.3390/ijms140510570
Article

Intra-Species Bacterial Quorum Sensing Studied at Single Cell Level in a Double Droplet Trapping System

1,†
,
1,†
,
2
,
2
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1
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2
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2
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1,3
 and
1,*
1 Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1EW, UK 2 Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QW, UK 3 Radboud University Nijmegen, Institute for Molecules and Materials, Heyendaalseweg 135, Nijmegen 6525 AJ, The Netherlands These authors contributed equally to this work.
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 19 April 2013 / Revised: 9 May 2013 / Accepted: 10 May 2013 / Published: 21 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quorum Sensing Research in Microbial Systems)
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Abstract

In this paper, we investigated the intra-species bacterial quorum sensing at the single cell level using a double droplet trapping system. Escherichia coli transformed to express the quorum sensing receptor protein, LasR, were encapsulated in microdroplets that were positioned adjacent to microdroplets containing the autoinducer, N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-L-homoserine lactone (OdDHL). Functional activation of the LasR protein by diffusion of the OdDHL across the droplet interface was measured by monitoring the expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) from a LasR-dependent promoter. A threshold concentration of OdDHL was found to induce production of quorum-sensing associated GFP by E. coli. Additionally, we demonstrated that LasR-dependent activation of GFP expression was also initiated when the adjacent droplets contained single E. coli transformed with the OdDHL synthase gene, LasI, representing a simple quorum sensing circuit between two droplets.
Keywords: droplet-based microfluidics; bacterial quorum sensing; single cell droplet-based microfluidics; bacterial quorum sensing; single cell
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Bai, Y.; Patil, S.N.; Bowden, S.D.; Poulter, S.; Pan, J.; Salmond, G.P.C.; Welch, M.; Huck, W.T.S.; Abell, C. Intra-Species Bacterial Quorum Sensing Studied at Single Cell Level in a Double Droplet Trapping System. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 10570-10581.

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