Quorum sensing signal-response systems in Gram-negative bacteria

Kai Papenfort, Bonnie Lynn Bassler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1451 Scopus citations


Bacteria use quorum sensing to orchestrate gene expression programmes that underlie collective behaviours. Quorum sensing relies on the production, release, detection and group-level response to extracellular signalling molecules, which are called autoinducers. Recent work has discovered new autoinducers in Gram-negative bacteria, shown how these molecules are recognized by cognate receptors, revealed new regulatory components that are embedded in canonical signalling circuits and identified novel regulatory network designs. In this Review we examine how, together, these features of quorum sensing signal-response systems combine to control collective behaviours in Gram-negative bacteria and we discuss the implications for host-microbial associations and antibacterial therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-588
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Microbiology


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