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Communication Breakdown: New Strategy May Be Valid Alternative To Traditional Antibiotics

Certainly there is strength in numbers, but only if those numbers can effectively communicate with one another. Now, a new study finds that administration of a novel small molecule which effectively disrupts a key bacterial communication process protects an animal host from infection. The research, published in the July 31st issue of the journal Molecular Cell, may lead to more effective treatments for bacterial infection that won't encourage growth of treatment resistant bacteria.

Bacteria use a process called "quorum sensing" to communicate information about population density and to synchronously engage in group behaviors that promote bacterial pathogenesis. "Quorum sensing allows bacteria to collectively carry out tasks that would be unsuccessful if carried out by an individual bacterium acting alone," explains senior study author Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University.

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