Bacterial quorum sensing: Its role in virulence and possibilities for its control

Steven T. Rutherford, Bonnie L. Bassler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1386 Scopus citations


Quorum sensing is a process of cell-cell communication that allows bacteria to share information about cell density and adjust gene expression accordingly. This process enables bacteria to express energetically expensive processes as a collective only when the impact of those processes on the environment or on a host will be maximized. Among the many traits controlled by quorum sensing is the expression of virulence factors by pathogenic bacteria. Here we review the quorum-sensing circuits of Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Vibrio cholerae. We outline these canonical quorum-sensing mechanisms and how each uniquely controls virulence factor production. Additionally, we examine recent efforts to inhibit quorum sensing in these pathogens with the goal of designing novel antimicrobial therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbera012427
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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