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Bacterial communication and possible application in control and therapy of bacterial diseases

RYCHLIK I, VOLF J, SEVCIK M
Veterinarni Medicina 45, 2000, 181-188

Biological processes such as control of bioluminescence in Vibrio fisherii and Vibrio harveyi, expression of virulence factors in Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Erwinia carotovora or conjugative transfer of the Ti plasmid in Agrobacterium tumefaciens are dependent on the production and sensing of specific secondary metabolites derived from the structure of N-acyl homoserine lactone. These metabolites are released and sensed by bacterial populations which in turn modify their metabolism accordingly. In certain bacterial species, virulence is under the control of these metabolites, in genomes of Salmonella typhimuirum and E.coli homologous systems with so far unknown function have been identified. This shows that communication by secondary metabolites is widespread in bacteria. Furthemore, host organism have been shown to respond to these metabolites by non-specific immune reactions. Understanding the biological role of this communication could enable specific modification of behaviour of bacterial populations and thus open a way to new therapeutic measures. All of this becomes even more important in a time when antibiotic resistance in bacteria increases and new ways of prevention and control of infectious diseases are sought


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