quorum sensing

September 7, 2007 at 1:24 am Leave a comment

Bacteria can form complex communities that attach to surfaces called biofilms. Researchers have noticed that these bacteria in biofilms behave differently from the free-swimming bacteria. The formation of biofilm is an example of microbial community behaviour. And this can be co-ordinated by small, diffusible signals between the bacteria in the community. This phenomenon is called quorum sensing.

Quorum sensing is observed in both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and in bacteria associated with animal and plants. Many traits related to pathogenesis and virulence, such as host-associated phenotypes, production of virulence factors and secondary metabolites, involve quorum sensing. Therefore, controlling quorum sensing could render the bacteria less virulent. Attenuation of bacteria may be a much-needed novel way to deal with bacterial infection. This antipathogenic approach is valuable because of the problem of resistance to antibacterial treatment (by antibiotic). Instead of inhibition of bacterial reproduction or growth, the drugs will make the bacteria fail to establish an infection.

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