Quorum-sensing regulation of gene expression: Fundamental and applied aspects and the role in bacterial communication
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- Khmel, I.A. Microbiology (2006) 75: 390. doi:10.1134/S0026261706040047
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Quorum sensing (QS) is a specific type of regulation of gene expression in bacteria; it is dependent on the population density. QS systems include two obligate components: a low-molecular-weight regulator (autoinducer), readily diffusible through the cytoplasmic membrane, and a regulatory receptor protein, which interacts with the regulator. As the bacterial population reaches a critical level of density, autoinducers accumulate to a necessary threshold value and abrupt activation (induction) of certain genes and operons occurs. By means of low-molecular-weight regulators, bacteria accomplish communication between cells belonging to the same or different species, genera, and even families. QS systems have been shown to play a key role in the regulation of various metabolic processes in bacteria and to function as global regulators of the expression of bacterial genes. Data are presented on different types of QS systems present in bacteria of various taxonomic groups, on the species specificity of these systems, and on communication of bacteria by means of QS systems. The possibility is considered of using QS regulation systems as targets while combating bacterial infections; other applied aspects of QS investigation are discussed.