Quorum sensing and the population dependent control of virulence.

Williams, Paul and Camara, Miguel and Hardman, A. and Swift, S. and Milton, D. and Hope, V. J. and Winzer, Klaus and Middleton, B. and Pritchard, D. I. and Bycroft, B. W. (2000) Quorum sensing and the population dependent control of virulence. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 355 (1397). pp. 667-680. ISSN 0962-8436

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One crucial feature of almost all bacterial infections is the need for the invading pathogen to reach a critical cell population density sufficient to overcome host defences and establish the infection. Controlling the expression of virulence determinants in concert with cell population density may therefore confer a significant survival advantage on the pathogen such that the host is overwhelmed before a defence response can be fully initiated. Many different bacterial pathogens are now known to regulate diverse physiological processes including virulence in a cell-density-dependent manner through cell-cell communication. This phenomenon, which relies on the interaction of a diffusible signal molecule (e.g. an N -acylhomoserine lactone) with a sensor or transcriptional activator to couple gene expression with cell population density, has become known as 'quorum sensing' . Although the size of the 'quorum' is likely to be highly variable and influenced by the diffusibility of the signal molecule within infected tissues, nevertheless quorum-sensing signal molecules can be detected in vivo in both experimental animal model and human infections. Furthermore, certain quorum-sensing molecules have been shown to possess pharmacological and immunomodulatory activity such that they may function as virulence determinants per se. As a consequence, quorum sensing constitutes a novel therapeutic target for the design of small molecular antagonists capable of attenuating virulence through the blockade of bacterial cell-cell communication.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? quorum sensing n -acylhomoserine lactones virulence bacteria infection cell signallingbiomedical and life sciencesgeneral agricultural and biological sciencesgeneral biochemistry,genetics and molecular biologyagricultural and biological sciences(all)bioch ??
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Deposited On:
16 Jun 2008 10:12
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 08:47