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Curr Opin Microbiol. 2001 Apr;4(2):186-93.

Quorum sensing as an integral component of gene regulatory networks in Gram-negative bacteria.

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Institute of Infections and Immunity, Queen's Medical Centre University of Nottingham, NG7 2RD, Nottingham, UK.


Bacterial cell-to-cell communication (quorum sensing) relies upon the interaction of a small diffusible signal molecule with a sensor or transcriptional activator to couple gene expression with cell population density. In Gram-negative bacteria, it is now clear that N-acylhomoserine lactones bind directly to LuxR homologues and can be synthesized via one of three unrelated bacterial protein families and by transgenic plants. New chemical classes of signal molecules have been identified, some of which exhibit crosstalk with N-acylhomoserine-lactone-mediated quorum sensing. As the determinant of cell population density, quorum sensing is emerging as an integral component of bacterial global gene regulatory networks responsible for facilitating bacterial adaptation to environmental stress. N-acylhomoserine lactones are produced during experimental animal and human infections, and a function beyond quorum sensing has been suggested by their intrinsic immunomodulatory and pharmacological activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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