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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF PATHOGENS AND THEIR RESPONSES TO ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Location: Molecular Characterization of Foodborne Pathogens

Title: Bacterial quorum sensing and biofilm formation

Author
item Fratamico, Pina

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 7, 2007
Publication Date: July 28, 2007
Citation: Fratamico, P.M. Bacterial quorum sensing and biofilm formation. Meeting Abstract. 041-01.

Technical Abstract: Quorum sensing is a cell density-dependent signaling system by which bacteria can regulate gene expression through the production, secretion, and subsequent detection of extracellular signaling molecules called autoinducers. Bacteria use quorum sensing to regulate various physiological activities, including virulence, competence, conjugation, antibiotic and bacteriocin production, motility, and spore and biofilm formation. Biofilms are complex microbial communities that adhere to a surface and are typically surrounded by an extracellular polymeric material excreted by the microorganisms. Antimicrobial concentrations sufficient to inactivate planktonic cells are generally inadequate to inactivate cells within biofilms. There is evidence that in some bacteria, biofilm formation is a carefully orchestrated process controlled by quorum sensing. The use of bacterial strains with mutations in genes involved in the production of signaling molecules and the analysis of temporal differential gene expression in biofilms are revealing information on the molecular mechanisms of biofilm formation and the role of quorum sensing. Moreover, knowledge of the chemical structures of different types of signaling molecules is allowing the identification of compounds that can be used to modulate quorum sensing-related processes, including biofilm formation. Additional research is needed to understand how quorum sensing works mechanistically in a biofilm and how cell-to-cell signaling may influence the virulence and antimicrobial resistance of the biofilm community. This information is important to identify possible targets and design strategies to control biofilm formation on industrial, medical, and food and food-processing surfaces.

Last Modified: 4/16/2014
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