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Citrus limonoids are unique secondary metabolites, characterized by a triterpenoid skeleton with a furan ring. Studies have demonstrated beneficial health properties of limonoids. In addition, certain citrus limonoids play a role in plant defence against insect pests. In the present study, five limonoids were purified from sour orange and evaluated for their ability to inhibit cell-cell signalling. The purified limonoids were tested for their ability to interfere with cell-cell signalling and biofilm formation in Vibrio harveyi. Isolimonic acid, deacetylnomilinic acid glucoside and ichangin demonstrated significant inhibition of autoinducer-mediated cell-cell signalling and biofilm formation. Furthermore, isolimonic acid and ichangin treatment resulted in induced expression of the response regulator gene luxO. In addition, luxR promoter activity was not affected by isolimonic acid or ichangin. Therefore, the ability of isolimonic acid and ichangin to interfere with cell-cell signalling and biofilm formation seems to stem from the modulation of luxO expression. The results suggest that isolimonic acid and ichangin are potent modulators of bacterial cell-cell signalling.


Amit Vikram, Palmy R Jesudhasan, G K Jayaprakasha, Suresh D Pillai, Bhimanagouda S Patil. Citrus limonoids interfere with Vibrio harveyi cell-cell signalling and biofilm formation by modulating the response regulator LuxO. Microbiology (Reading, England). 2011 Jan;157(Pt 1):99-110

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PMID: 20864476

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