Quorum sensing: the power of cooperation in the world of Pseudomonas

Environ Microbiol. 2005 Apr;7(4):459-71. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2005.00769.x.


Work over the past few years has provided evidence that quorum sensing is a generic regulatory mechanism that allows bacteria to launch a unified, coordinated response in a population density-dependent manner to accomplish tasks which would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve for a single bacterial cell. Quorum sensing systems are widespread among pseudomonads and the one of the human opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa belongs to the most extensively studied cell-to-cell communication systems. In this organism, quorum sensing is highly complex and is made up of two interlinked N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL)-dependent regulatory circuits, which are further modulated by a non-AHL-related signal molecule and numerous regulators acting both at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional level. This genetic complexity may be one of the key elements responsible for the tremendous environmental versatility of P. aeruginosa. Work of the past few years showed that quorum sensing is essential for the expression of a battery of virulence factors as well as for biofilm formation in P. aeruginosa and thus represents an attractive target for the design of novel drugs for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections. Furthermore, the cell-to-cell communication ability was also demonstrated in a number of additional pseudomonads.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 4-Butyrolactone / analogs & derivatives
  • 4-Butyrolactone / physiology
  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial*
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / growth & development
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Virulence / genetics


  • homoserine lactone
  • 4-Butyrolactone