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Data from: Investigating a possible role for the bacterial signal molecules N-acylhomoserine lactones in Balanus improvisus cyprid settlement

Citation

Tait, Karen; Havenhand, Jon (2013), Data from: Investigating a possible role for the bacterial signal molecules N-acylhomoserine lactones in Balanus improvisus cyprid settlement, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.c3b75

Abstract

Increased settlement on bacterial biofilms has been demonstrated for a number of marine invertebrate larvae, but the nature of the cue(s) responsible is not well understood. We tested the hypothesis that the bay barnacle Balanus improvisus utilises the bacterial signal molecules N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) as a cue for the selection of sites for permanent attachment. Single species biofilms of the AHL-producing bacteria Vibrio anguillarum, Aeromonas hydrophila and Sulfitobacter sp. BR1 were attractive to settling cypris larvae of Balanus improvisus. However, when AHL production was inactivated, either by mutation of the AHL synthetic genes or by expression of an AHL-degrading gene (aiiA), the ability of the bacteria to attract cyprids was abolished. In addition, cyprids actively explored biofilms of E. coli expressing recombinant AHL synthase genes, but not on E. coli that did not produce AHLs. Finally, concentrations of synthetic AHLs similar to those found within natural biofilms (5 µM) resulted in increased cyprid settlement. Thus, the attraction of B. improvisus larvae to biofilms appears to be mediated by AHL signalling bacteria in the laboratory. This adds to our understanding of how quorum sensing inhibition may be used as a means of biofouling control. Nonetheless, the significance of our results for larvae settling naturally in the field, and the mechanisms that underlay the observed responses to AHLs, are as yet unknown.

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