Eikenella corrodens produces autoinducer-2 (AI-2) in the mid log phase, and AI-2 activity decreases dramatically during the stationary phase. We investigated the mechanism underlying this decrease in AI-2 activity. To analyze the mechanism, we extracted and purified AI-2 from the supernatant of mid-log-phase culture. Simultaneously, the stationary-phase culture supernatant was fractionated by ammonium sulfate precipitation. On incubating purified AI-2 and 4-hydroxy-5-methyl-3(2H)- furanone (MHF) with each fraction, the 30% fraction decreased both AI-2 and MHF activities. The data suggest that AI-2 and MHF were rendered inactive in the same manner. Heat and/or trypsin treatment of the 30% fraction did not completely arrest AI-2 inactivation, suggesting that partially heat-stable proteins are involved in AI-2 inactivation. We observed that an enzyme converted MHF to another form. This suggests that E. corrodens produces an AI-2 inactivating enzyme, and that AI-2 can be degraded or modified by it.
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