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Int J Artif Organs. 2007 Sep;30(9):757-63.

Bacterial communications in implant infections: a target for an intelligence war.

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Center for Biofilms, School of Dentistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, USA.


The status of population density is communicated among bacteria by specific secreted molecules, called pheromones or autoinducers, and the control mechanism is called ""quorum-sensing"". Quorum-sensing systems regulate the expression of a panel of genes, allowing bacteria to adapt to modified environmental conditions at a high density of population. The two known different quorum systems are described as the LuxR-LuxI system in gram-negative bacteria, which uses an N-acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL) as signal, and the agr system in gram-positive bacteria, which uses a peptide-tiolactone as signal and the RNAIII as effector molecules. Both in gram-negative and in gram-positive bacteria, quorum-sensing systems regulate the expression of adhesion mechanisms (biofilm and adhesins) and virulence factors (toxins and exoenzymes) depending on population cell density. In gram-negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa, analogs of signaling molecules such as furanone analogs, are effective in attenuating bacterial virulence and controlling bacterial infections. In grampositive Staphylococcus aureus, the quorum-sensing RNAIII-inhibiting peptide (RIP), tested in vitro and in animal infection models, has been proved to inhibit virulence and prevent infections. Attenuation of bacterial virulence by quorum-sensing inhibitors, rather than by bactericidal or bacteriostatic drugs, is a highly attractive concept because these antibacterial agents are less likely to induce the development of bacterial resistance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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