Quorum sensing (QS) is a bacterial communication process that depends on the bacterial population density. It involves small diffusible signaling molecules which activate the expression of myriad genes that control diverse array of functions like bioluminescence, virulence, biofilm formation, sporulation, to name a few. Since QS is responsible for virulence in the clinically relevant bacteria, inhibition of QS appears to be a promising strategy to control these pathogenic bacteria. With indiscriminate use of antibiotics, there has been an alarming increase in the number of antibiotic resistant pathogens. Antibiotics are no longer the magic bullets they were once thought to be and therefore there is a need for development of new antibiotics and/or other novel strategies to combat the infections caused by multidrug resistant organisms. Quorum sensing inhibition or quorum quenching has been pursued as one of such novel strategies. While antibiotics kill or slow down the growth of bacteria, quorum sensing inhibitors (QSIs) or quorum quenchers (QQs) attenuate bacterial virulence. A large body of work on QS has been carried out in deadly pathogens like Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio fischeri, V. harveyi, Escherichia coli and V. cholerae etc to unravel the mechanisms of QS as well as identify and study QSIs. This review describes various aspects of QS, QSI, different model systems to study these phenomena and recent patents on various QSIs. It suggests QSIs as attractive alternatives for controlling human, animal and plant pathogens and their utility in agriculture and other industries.
Keywords: Biofilms, multidrug resistance, patents, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, quorum sensing, quorum sensing inhibitors, Staphylococcus aureus, Vibrio cholerae, Autoinducer type 1, QS systems