The Role of Quorum Sensing in the Development of Microcystis aeruginosa Blooms: Gene Expression




Lamas-Samanamud, Gisella
Montante, Armando
Mertins, Andrea
Phan, Duc
Loures, Carla
Naves, Fabiano
Reeves, Tony
Shipley, Heather J.

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Microcystis aeruginosa (M. aeruginosa) is the dominant cyanobacterial species causing harmful algal blooms in water bodies worldwide. The blooms release potent toxins and pose severe public health hazards to water bodies, animals, and humans who are in contact with or consume this water. The interaction between M. aeruginosa and heterotrophic bacteria is thought to contribute to the development of the blooms. This study strives to provide a specific answer to whether quorum sensing is also a potential mechanism mediating the interaction of different strains/species and the expression by gene luxS or gene mcyB in M. aeruginosa growth. The luxS gene in M. aeruginosa PCC7806 is associated with quorum sensing and was tested by q-PCR throughout a 30-day growth period. The same was performed for the mcyB gene. Heterotrophic bacteria were collected from local water bodies: Cibolo Creek and Leon Creek in San Antonio, Texas. Results revealed that in algal bloom scenarios, there is a similar concentration of gene luxS that is expressed by the cyanobacteria. Gene mcyB, however, is not directly associated with algal blooms, but it is related to cyanotoxin production. Toxicity levels increased in experiments with multiple algal strains, and the HSL treatment was not effective at reducing microcystin levels.



cyanotoxins, quorum sensing, microcystin, algal bloom


Microorganisms 11 (2): 383 (2023)


Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management