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Bioorg Chem. 2014 Aug;55:60-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bioorg.2014.04.005. Epub 2014 Apr 21.

The art of antibacterial warfare: Deception through interference with quorum sensing-mediated communication.

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Department of Sciences, University Roma Tre, Viale Marconi 446, 00146 Rome, Italy.
Centre for Biomolecular Sciences and School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Electronic address:


Almost a century on from the discovery of penicillin, the war against bacterial infection still rages compounded by the emergence of strains resistant to virtually every clinically approved antibiotic and the dearth of new antibacterial agents entering the clinic. Consequently there is renewed interest in drugs which attenuate virulence rather than bacterial growth. Since the metaphors of warfare are often used to describe the battle between pathogen and host, we will describe in such a context, the molecular communication (quorum sensing) mechanisms used by bacteria to co-ordinate virulence at the population level. Recent progress in exploiting this information through the design of anti-virulence deception strategies that disrupt quorum sensing through signal molecule inactivation, inhibition of signal molecule biosynthesis or the blockade of signal transduction and their advantages and disadvantages are considered.


Antivirulence drugs; Biofilm; New therapeutic strategies; Pathogenesis; Quorum quenching; Quorum sensing inhibitors; Virulence factors

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