New research reveals a strategy for disrupting the ability of bacteria to communicate and coordinate the expression of virulence factors. The study, published by Cell Press in the April 22nd issue of the journal Molecular Cell, may lead to the development of new antibacterial therapeutics.
Bacteria use a process called "quorum sensing" to synchronize group behaviors that promote pathogenesis. During the process of quorum sensing, bacteria communicate with one another via chemical signals called autoinducers. As the population increases, so do autoinducer concentrations. Interactions between autoinducers and their receptors control gene expression and underlie coordinated behavior within cell populations.