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Biosystems. 2012 Aug;109(2):105-14. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2012.02.002. Epub 2012 Feb 25.

Inhibition of quorum sensing in a computational biofilm simulation.

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School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Bacteria communicate through small diffusible molecules in a process known as quorum sensing. Quorum-sensing inhibitors are compounds which interfere with this, providing a potential treatment for infections associated with bacterial biofilms. We present an individual-based computational model for a developing biofilm. Cells are aggregated into particles for computational efficiency, but the quorum-sensing mechanism is modelled as a stochastic process on the level of individual cells. Simulations are used to investigate different treatment regimens. The response to the addition of inhibitor is found to depend significantly on the form of the positive feedback in the quorum-sensing model; in cases where the model exhibits bistability, the time at which treatment is initiated proves to be critical for the effective prevention of quorum sensing and hence potentially of virulence.

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