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Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry

Interfering with Bacterial Quorum Sensing

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Perspectives in Medicinal Chemistry 2016:8 1-15

Perspective

Published on 18 Jan 2016

DOI: 10.4137/PMC.S13209


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Abstract

Quorum sensing (QS) describes the exchange of chemical signals in bacterial populations to adjust the bacterial phenotypes according to the density of bacterial cells. This serves to express phenotypes that are advantageous for the group and ensure bacterial survival. To do so, bacterial cells synthesize autoinducer (AI) molecules, release them to the environment, and take them up. Thereby, the AI concentration reflects the cell density. When the AI concentration exceeds a critical threshold in the cells, the AI may activate the expression of virulence-associated genes or of luminescent proteins. It has been argued that targeting the QS system puts less selective pressure on these pathogens and should avoid the development of resistant bacteria. Therefore, the molecular components of QS systems have been suggested as promising targets for developing new anti-infective compounds. Here, we review the QS systems of selected gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, namely, Vibrio fischeri, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus, and discuss various antivirulence strategies based on blocking different components of the QS machinery.



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