Quantitative determination of AI-2 quorum-sensing signal of bacteria using high performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry

Fang Xu , Xiangning Song , Peijie Cai , Guoping Sheng , Hanqing Yu


Received February 14, 2016,Revised April 21, 2016, Accepted April 25, 2016, Available online May 27, 2016

Volume 29,2017,Pages 204-209

Autoinducer 2 (AI-2), an important bioactive by-product of the LuxS-catalyzed S-ribosylhomocysteine cleavage reaction in the activated-methyl-cycle, has been suggested to serve as a universal intra- and inter-species signaling molecule. The development of reliable and sensitive methods for quantitative determination of AI-2 is highly desired. However, the chemical properties of AI-2 cause difficulty in its quantitative analysis. Herein, we report a high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric method that enables reproducible and sensitive measurement of AI-2 concentrations in complex matrixes. 4,5-Dimethylbenzene-1,2-diamine (DMBDM), an easy-to-obtain commercial reagent, was used for the derivatization treatment. The assay was linear in the concentration range of 1.0–1000 ng/mL (R2 = 0.999) and had a lower limit of quantification of 0.58 ng/mL. The method exhibited several advantages, e.g., high selectivity, wide linear response range, and good sensitivity. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the method was further validated through measuring AI-2 concentrations in the cell-free culture supernatant from Escherichia coli wild type.

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