Evolution and some functions of the NprR-NprRB quorum-sensing system in the Bacillus cereus group

Jorge Rocha, Victor Flores, Rosina Cabrera, Adriana Soto-Guzmán, Giovana Granados, Eusebio Juaristi, Gabriel Guarneros, Mayra De La Torre

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19 Scopus citations


Quorum-sensing (QS) is a bacterial mechanism for regulation of gene expression in response to cell density. In Gram-positive bacteria, oligopeptides are the signaling molecules to elicit QS. The RNPP protein family (Rap, NprR, PlcR, and PrgX) are intracellular QS receptors that bind directly to their specific signaling peptide for regulating the transcription of several genes. NprR is the activator of a neutral protease in Bacillus subtilis, and it has been recently related to sporulation, cry genes transcription and extracellular protease activity in strains from the B. cereus group. In the B. thuringiensis genome, downstream nprR, a gene encoding a putative QS signaling propeptide (nprRB) was found. We hypothesized that the nprR and nprRB co-evolved because of their coordinated function in the B. cereus group. A phylogenetic tree of nucleotide sequences of nprR revealed six pherotypes, each corresponding to one putative mature NprRB sequence. The nprR tree does not match the current taxonomic grouping of the B. cereus group or the phylogenetic arrangement obtained when using MLST markers from the same strains. SKPDI and other synthetic peptides encoded in the nprRB gene from B. thuringiensis serovar thuringiensis strain 8741 had effect on temporal regulation of sporulation and expression of a cry1Aa'Z transcriptional fusion, but those peptides that stimulated earlier detection of spores decreased cry1Aa expression suggesting that NprR may either activate or repress the transcription of different genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1069-1078
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank Didier Lereclus and the Institut Pasteur for the plasmid pHTcryIA2, Eiichi Mizuki for serotyping Bt 8741, and Mahabir Gupta for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT, Mexico) grants 60769 to M. T. and 60366 to E. J. Fellowships from CONACYT were given to J. Rocha, R. Cabrera, V. Flores, and A. Soto.


  • Bacillus cereus/genetics
  • Bacillus subtilis/genetics
  • Bacillus thuringiensis/genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins/genetics
  • Bacterial Toxins/metabolism
  • Cluster Analysis
  • DNA, Bacterial/chemistry
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways/genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Quorum Sensing
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology
  • Spores, Bacterial/growth & development


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