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Deciphering bacterial social traits via diffusible signal factor (DSF) -mediated public goods in an anammox community

Both the benefits of bacterial quorum sensing (QS) and cross-feeding for bio-reactor performance in wastewater treatment have been recently reported. As the social traits of microbial communities, how bacterial QS regulating bacterial trade-off by cross-feeding remains unclear. Here, we find diffusion signal factor (DSF), a kind of QS molecules, can bridge bacterial interactions through regulating public goods (extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), amino acids) for metabolic cross-feedings. It showed that exogenous DSF-addition leads to change of public goods level and community structure dynamics in the anammox consortia. Approaches involving meta-omics clarified that anammox and a Lautropia-affiliated species in the phylum Proteobacteria can supply costly public goods for DSF-Secretor species via secondary messenger c-di-GMP regulator (Clp) after sensing DSF. Meanwhile, DSF-Secretor species help anammox bacteria scavenge extracellular detritus, which creates a more suitable environment for the anammox species, enhances the anammox activity, and improves the nitrogen removal rate of anammox reactor. The trade-off induces discrepant metabolic loads of different microbial clusters, which were responsible for the community succession. It illustrated the potential to artificially alleviate metabolic loads for certain bacteria. Deciphering microbial interactions via QS not only provides insights for understanding the social behavior of microbial community, but also creates new thought for enhancing treatment performance through regulating bacterial social traits via quorum sensing-mediated public goods.

Publication date: 01/03/2021

Author: Yongzhao Guo, Yunpeng Zhao, Xi Tang, Tianxing Na, Juejun Pan, Huazhang Zhao, Sitong Liu

Water Research


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.