4-quinolone signalling in Pseudomonas aeruginosa: old molecules, new perspectives

Int J Med Microbiol. 2006 Apr;296(2-3):83-91. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2006.01.038. Epub 2006 Feb 17.


In Pseudomonas aeruginosa, diverse virulence determinants and secondary metabolites are regulated via the action of a hierarchical quorum-sensing system which integrates two chemically distinct classes of signal molecules, the N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs) and the 4-quinolones (4Qs). Synthesis of the pseudomonas quinolone signal, 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone (PQS) depends on the pqsABCDE locus which is responsible for generating multiple 4Qs including 2-heptyl-4-quinolone (HHQ), the immediate PQS precursor. Exported HHQ is taken up by adjacent bacterial cells and converted into PQS by PqsH, a putative mono-oxygenase. In addition, PQS regulates its own production by driving the expression of pqsABCDE through a direct interaction with PqsR (MvfR). PQS regulates diverse target genes including those coding for elastase, rhamnolipid, the PA-IL lectin and pyocyanin via the action of PqsE as well as influencing biofilm development and impacting on cellular fitness. Furthermore, 4Q signalling is not restricted to P. aeruginosa raising the possibility of cross-talk with other related bacterial species which occupy similar ecological niches.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 4-Quinolones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / pathogenicity
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Quinolones / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Virulence / physiology


  • 2-heptyl-3-hydroxy-4-quinolone
  • 4-Quinolones
  • Quinolones