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Journal of Applied Microbiology

Diffusible Signal Factor (DSF)-dependent quorum sensing in pathogenic bacteria and its exploitation for disease control

J. Maxwell Dow

School of Microbiology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.


Cell-to-cell signals of the Diffusible Signal Factor (DSF) family are cis-2-unsaturated fatty acids of differing chain length and branching pattern. DSF signalling has been described in diverse bacteria to include plant and human pathogens where it acts to regulate functions such as biofilm formation, antibiotic tolerance and the production of virulence factors. DSF family signals can also participate in interspecies signalling with other bacteria and interkingdom signaling such as with the yeast Candida albicans. Interference with DSF signalling may afford new opportunities for the control of bacterial disease. Such strategies will depend in part on detailed knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying the processes of signal synthesis, perception and turnover. Here, I review both recent progress in understanding DSF signalling at the molecular level and prospects for translating this knowledge into approaches for disease control.

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