Gram-negative bacterial quorum sensing is mainly regulated by an extracellularly produced N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL). AHL consists of a lactone ring and an acyl chain, which generally varies from C4 to C18 in length and affords species-specific variety. In this study, we developed an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry system and detected two kinds of long chain AHLs with chain length C20 from the reverse-phase thin layer chromatography-fractionated cultured supernatant of the marine photosynthetic bacterium Rhodovulum sulfidophilum. By fragmentation search analysis to detect compounds with a homoserine lactone ring moiety for data dependent acquisition, a minor AHL, presumed to be 3-OH-C18-homoserine lactone (HSL), was also found. Among the detected C20-HSLs, 3-OH-C20-HSL was structurally identified and 3-OH-C20:1-HSL was strongly suggested. To our knowledge, this is the first report to show a novel AHL with the longest C20 acyl side chain found to date.
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