Molecular Biology

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 169–182

Quorum sensing regulation of gene expression: A promising target for drugs against bacterial pathogenicity

  • I. A. Khmel
  • A. Z. Metlitskaya

DOI: 10.1134/S0026893306020014

Cite this article as:
Khmel, I.A. & Metlitskaya, A.Z. Mol Biol (2006) 40: 169. doi:10.1134/S0026893306020014


Bacteria are sensitive to an increase in population density and respond quickly and coordinately by induction of certain sets of genes. This mode of regulation, known as quorum sensing (QS), is based on the effect of low-molecular-weight signal molecules, autoinducers (AIs). When the population density is high, AIs accumulate in the medium and interact with regulatory receptor proteins. QS systems are global regulators of bacterial gene expression and play a key role in controlling many metabolic processes in the cell, including bacterial virulence. The review considers the molecular mechanisms of QS in different taxonomic groups of bacteria and discusses QS regulation as a possible target in treating bacterial infections. This is a new, alternative strategy of antibacterial therapy, which includes the construction of drugs acting directly against bacterial pathogenicity by suppressing QS (antipathogenicity drugs). This strategy makes it possible to avoid a wide distribution of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria and the formation of biofilms, which dramatically increase drug resistance.

Key words

quorum sensing regulationbacteriaautoinducersN-acyl homoserine lactonesbiofilmspeptides

Copyright information

© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. A. Khmel
    • 1
  • A. Z. Metlitskaya
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular GeneticsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia