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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2009 Jan;290(1):1-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2008.01394.x. Epub 2008 Oct 29.

The role of quorum sensing in chronic cystic fibrosis Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

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Division of Medical Microbiology, School of Infection and Host Defence, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


Studies on cultured cells and in infection models have shown that cell density-dependent quorum-sensing (QS) controls many of the known virulence factors of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. However, it is less clear what role QS plays in chronic human lung infections associated with cystic fibrosis (CF). The involvement of QS in biofilm development, crucial to the establishment of long-term infections, suggests a role in the early stages of infection. However, the accumulation of QS mutants during chronic CF infections has been taken to indicate that any role diminishes thereafter. Here, we discuss the evidence for a continuing role for QS in P. aeruginosa CF infections, including QS activity in CF sputa and CF-relevant effects of QS-regulated products, such as pyocyanin. Bacterial population behaviour in CF is complex, and the exact roles of QS remains unclear. Therapeutic strategies directed against QS suggest that a greater understanding of bacterial populations during infection would be a valuable research goal from a clinical perspective.

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