Saturday, February 23, 2008
Detection and inhibition of bacterial cell-cell communication
Rice SA, McDougald D, Givskov M, Kjelleberg S.
Bacteria communicate with other members of their community through the secretion and perception of small chemical cues or signals. The recognition of a signal normally leads to the expression of a large suite of genes, which in some bacteria are involved in the regulation of virulence factors, and as a result, these signaling compounds are key regulatory factors in many disease processes. Thus, it is of interest when studying pathogens to understand the mechanisms used to control the expression of virulence genes so that strategies might be devised for the control of those pathogens. Clearly, the ability to interfere with this process of signaling represents a novel approach for the treatment of bacterial infections. There is a broad range of compounds that bacteria can use for signaling purposes, including fatty acids, peptides, N-acylated homoserine lactones, and the signals collectively called autoinducer 2 (AI-2). This chapter will focus on the latter two signaling systems as they are present in a range of medically relevant bacteria, and here we describe assays for determining whether an organism produces a particular signal and assays that can be used to identify inhibitors of the signaling cascade. Lastly, the signal detection and inhibition assays will be directly linked to the expression of virulence factors of specific pathogens.
PMID: 18287747 [PubMed - in process]