YbaO is an uncharacterized AsnC-family transcription factor of Escherichia coli. In both Salmonella enterica and Pantoea ananatis, YbaO homologues were identified to regulate the adjacent gene encoding cysteine desulfhydrase for detoxification of cysteine. Using the genomic SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) screening system, we identified the yhaOM operon, located far from the ybaO gene on the E. coli genome, as a single regulatory target of YbaO. In both gel shift assay in vitro and reporter and Northern blot assays in vivo, YbaO was found to regulate the yhaOM promoter. The growth of mutants lacking either ybaO or its targets yhaOM was delayed in the presence of cysteine, indicating involvement of these genes in cysteine detoxification. In the major pathway of cysteine degradation, hydrogen sulfide is produced in wild-type E. coli, but its production was not observed in each of the ybaO, yhaO and yhaM mutants. The yhaOM promoter was activated in the presence of cysteine, implying the role of cysteine in activation of YbaO. Taken together, we propose that YbaO is the cysteine-sensing transcriptional activator of the yhaOM operon, which is involved in the detoxification of cysteine. We then propose the naming of ybaO as decR (regulator of detoxification of cysteine).
The present study investigated plant extracts for their anti-quorum-sensing (QS) potential to inhibit the biofilm formation in Cronobacter sakazakii strains. The bioassay based on loss of pigment production by Chromobacterium violaceum 026 and Agrobacterium tumefaciens NTL4(pZLR4) was used for initial screening of the extracts. Further, the effect of extracts on the inhibition of QS-mediated biofilm in C. sakazakii isolates was evaluated using standard crystal violet assay. The effect on biofilm texture was studied using SYTO9 staining and light and scanning electron microscopy. Among the tested extracts, Piper nigrum and Cinnamomum verum at 100 ppm resulted in 78 and 68 % reduction in the production of violacein as well as blue-green colour in both biosensor strains. A higher inhibitory activity (>50 %) on biofilm formation in C. sakazakii was observed for Pip. nigrum and Cin. verum, whereas the other extracts possessed moderate (25–50 %) and minimal (<25 %) inhibitory activities. Further, the fluorescent and scanning electron microscopic images indicated a major disruption in the architecture of biofilms of tested strains by Pip. nigrum. This study points to the possibility of using Pip. nigrum and Cin. verum as inhibitor of QS-mediated biofilm formation by C. sakazakii that could be further explored for novel bioactive molecules to limit the emerging infections of C. sakazakii.