[Enzymes for disrupting bacterial communication, an alternative to antibiotics?]

Ann Pharm Fr. 2016 Nov;74(6):413-420. doi: 10.1016/j.pharma.2016.06.005. Epub 2016 Jul 27.
[Article in French]


Quorum sensing (QS) is used by bacteria to communicate and synchronize their actions according to the cell density. In this way, they produce and secrete in the surrounding environment small molecules dubbed autoinducers (AIs) that regulate the expression of certain genes. The phenotypic traits regulated by QS are diverse and include pathogenicity, biofilm formation or resistance to anti-microbial treatments. The strategy, aiming at disrupting QS, known as quorum quenching (QQ), has emerged to counteract bacterial virulence and involves QS-inhibitors (QSI) or QQ-enzymes degrading AIs. Differently from antibiotics, QQ aims at blocking cell signaling and does not alter bacterial survival. This considerably decreases the selection pressure as compared to bactericide treatments and may reduce the occurrence of resistance mechanisms. QQ-enzymes are particularly appealing as they may disrupt molecular QS-signal without entering the cell and in a catalytic way. This review covers several aspects of QQ-based medical applications and the potential subsequent emergence of resistance is discussed.

Keywords: Bacterial virulence; Biofilm; Lactonase; Quorum quenching; Quorum sensing; Virulence bactérienne.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Enzymes / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Quorum Sensing / drug effects*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Enzymes