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Trends Microbiol. 2011 Mar;19(3):145-52. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2010.12.003. Epub 2011 Jan 10.

Communication with a growing family: diffusible signal factor (DSF) signaling in bacteria.

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  • 1BIOMERIT Research Centre, Department of Microbiology, Biosciences Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland.


Many pathogenic bacteria use cell-cell signaling to regulate the expression of factors contributing to virulence. Bacteria produce signals of diverse structural classes. The signal molecule known as diffusible signal factor (DSF) is a cis-unsaturated fatty acid that was first described in the plant pathogen Xanthomonas campestris. Recent work has shown that structurally related molecules produced by the unrelated bacteria Burkholderia cenocepacia and Pseudomonas aeruginosa regulate virulence, biofilm formation and antibiotic tolerance in these important human pathogens. Furthermore, DSF family signals have been shown to be involved in interspecies signaling that modulates bacterial behavior. An understanding of these diverse signaling mechanisms could suggest strategies for interference, with consequences for disease control.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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