Patents on Quorum Quenching: Interfering with Bacterial Communication as a Strategy to Fight Infections
Manuel Romero, Laura Acuna and Ana Otero
Affiliation: Departamento de Microbiología y Parasitología, Facultad de Biología, Edificio CIBUS, Campus Vida, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Numerous bacterial functions, such as virulence and biofilm formation, are controlled by a cell densitydependent
communication mechanism known as Quorum Sensing (QS), in which small diffusible molecules are released,
allowing bacteria to coordinate their behavior once a minimal effective quorum has been reached. The interference with
these signaling systems, also known as Quorum Quenching (QQ), represents a promising strategy to tackle bacterial infections.
The growing interest in this approach is reflected by the increasing number of patents within the field (45 up to
now), especially in the last few years, as shown by patent applications published since 2009. The fact that biofilm formation
is also controlled by QS systems expands the application of QQ to clinically-relevant biofilms such as those responsible
for periodontal disease. Moreover, since biofilms increase bacterial resistance to antimicrobials, QQ could represent a
new way to fight some of the most recurrent human pathogens, such as nosocomial multiresistant strains, and this deserves
further exploration, especially through more proofs of concept. In this article we review the best known QS and QQ
systems to date and we describe recent patents on the interference with this type of bacterial communication.
Keywords: Acylase, agonist, AHL, AI-2, antagonist, bacterial communication, biofilm, lactonase, peptide, quorum quenching, quorum sensing, signal, virulence.
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