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Virulence. 2014 Apr 1;5(3):433-42. doi: 10.4161/viru.27850. Epub 2014 Feb 11.

Metagenomic approaches to understanding phylogenetic diversity in quorum sensing.

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Bioproduction Research Institute; National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST); Tsukuba, Ibaraki Japan.


Quorum sensing, a form of cell-cell communication among bacteria, allows bacteria to synchronize their behaviors at the population level in order to control behaviors such as luminescence, biofilm formation, signal turnover, pigment production, antibiotics production, swarming, and virulence. A better understanding of quorum-sensing systems will provide us with greater insight into the complex interaction mechanisms used widely in the Bacteria and even the Archaea domain in the environment. Metagenomics, the use of culture-independent sequencing to study the genomic material of microorganisms, has the potential to provide direct information about the quorum-sensing systems in uncultured bacteria. This article provides an overview of the current knowledge of quorum sensing focused on phylogenetic diversity, and presents examples of studies that have used metagenomic techniques. Future technologies potentially related to quorum-sensing systems are also discussed.


N-acyl-L-homoserine lactone; metagenomics; quorum quenching; quorum sensing; quorum-sensing inhibitor; quorum-sensing signal

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