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Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals
Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, 235 Life Science, Arlington, TX 76019, USA
United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 6, 1445 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX 75202, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 April 2012; in revised form: 21 May 2012 / Accepted: 28 May 2012 / Published: 4 June 2012
Abstract: Gorgonian corals possess many novel natural products that could potentially mediate coral-bacterial interactions. Since many bacteria use quorum sensing (QS) signals to facilitate colonization of host organisms, regulation of prokaryotic cell-to-cell communication may represent an important bacterial control mechanism. In the present study, we examined extracts of twelve species of Caribbean gorgonian corals, for mechanisms that regulate microbial colonization, such as antibacterial activity and QS regulatory activity. Ethanol extracts of gorgonians collected from Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys showed a range of both antibacterial and QS activities using a specific Pseudomonas aeruginosa QS reporter, sensitive to long chain AHLs and a short chain N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHL) biosensor, Chromobacterium violaceium. Overall, the gorgonian corals had higher antimicrobial activity against non-marine strains when compared to marine strains. Pseudopterogorgia americana, Pseusopterogorgia acerosa, and Pseudoplexuara flexuosa had the highest QS inhibitory effect. Interestingly, Pseudoplexuara porosa extracts stimulated QS activity with a striking 17-fold increase in signal. The stimulation of QS by P. porosa or other elements of the holobiont may encourage colonization or recruitment of specific microbial species. Overall, these results suggest the presence of novel stimulatory QS, inhibitory QS and bactericidal compounds in gorgonian corals. A better understanding of these compounds may reveal insight into coral-microbial ecology and whether a therapeutic potential exists.
Keywords: gorgonian corals; quorum sensing (QS); antimicrobial activity; microbial regulation
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Hunt, L.R.; Smith, S.M.; Downum, K.R.; Mydlarz, L.D. Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals. Mar. Drugs 2012, 10, 1225-1243.
Hunt LR, Smith SM, Downum KR, Mydlarz LD. Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals. Marine Drugs. 2012; 10(6):1225-1243.
Hunt, Laura R.; Smith, Stephanie M.; Downum, Kelsey R.; Mydlarz, Laura D. 2012. "Microbial Regulation in Gorgonian Corals." Mar. Drugs 10, no. 6: 1225-1243.