Beneficial effects of bacteria-plant communication based on quorum sensing molecules of the N-acyl homoserine lactone group
Bacterial quorum sensing (QS) mechanisms play a crucial role in the proper performance and ecological fitness of bacterial populations. Many key physiological processes are regulated in a QS-dependent manner by auto-inducers, like the N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) in numerous Gram-negative bacteria. In addition, also the interaction between bacteria and eukaryotic hosts can be regulated by AHLs. Those mechanisms gained much attention, because of the positive effects of different AHL molecules on plants. This positive impact ranges from growth promotion to induced resistance and is quite contrasting to the rather negative effects observed in the interactions between bacterial AHL molecules and animals. Only very recently, we began to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning plant responses to AHL molecules. In this review, we gathered the latest information in this research field. The first part gives an overview of the bacterial aspects of quorum sensing. Later we focus on the impact of AHLs on plant growth and AHL-priming, as one of the most understood phenomena in respect to the interkingdom interactions based on AHL-quorum sensing molecules. Finally, we discuss the potential benefits of the understanding of bacteria-plant interaction for the future agricultural applications.
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