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Quorum Sensing vs Quorum Quenching: A Battle with No End in Sight

Strategies for Silencing Bacterial Communication

Kristina Ivanova, Margarida M. Fernandes, Tzanko Tzanov

Group of Molecular and Industrial Biotechnology, Department of Chemical Engineering, Universitat Polìtecnica de Catalunya, Rambla Sant Nebridi 22, 08222, Terrassa, Spain.


Recent advances in microbiology have revealed that bacteria are able to communicate and cooperate in a wide range of multicellular behaviors such as dispersal, foraging and biofilm formation, in a process called quorum sensing (QS). In the QS-regulated communication, bacteria produce and secrete small signaling molecules – autoinducers that are recognised by specific receptors. Gram-negative bacteria secrete acyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) that in threshold concentrations penetrate into the cells and activate cognate intracellular AHL receptors, while gram-positive bacteria produce autoinducing peptides that are detected by the cell membrane histidine kinase receptor. However, not all bacterial communication is species specific. Bacteria also possess a receptor for the signals sent out by other bacteria species. The knowledge about how this intra- and inter-species communication occurs has been increasingly used to develop new strategies for fighting infectious diseases. This chapter summarises recent advances for silencing cell-to-cell communication as a new approach for the prevention of bacterial diseases.


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