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Future Med Chem. 2010 Jun;2(6):1005-35. doi: 10.4155/fmc.10.185.

Paradigm shift in discovering next-generation anti-infective agents: targeting quorum sensing, c-di-GMP signaling and biofilm formation in bacteria with small molecules.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Small molecules that can attenuate bacterial toxin production or biofilm formation have the potential to solve the bacteria resistance problem. Although several molecules, which inhibit bacterial cell-to-cell communication (quorum sensing), biofilm formation and toxin production, have been discovered, there is a paucity of US FDA-approved drugs that target these processes. Here, we review the current understanding of quorum sensing in important pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and provide examples of experimental molecules that can inhibit both known and unknown targets in bacterial virulence factor production and biofilm formation. Structural data for protein targets that are involved in both quorum sensing and cyclic diguanylic acid signaling are needed to aid the development of molecules with drug-like properties in order to target bacterial virulence factors production and biofilm formation.

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