Quorum sensing signal-response systems in Gram-negative bacteria

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2016 Aug 11;14(9):576-88. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2016.89.


Bacteria use quorum sensing to orchestrate gene expression programmes that underlie collective behaviours. Quorum sensing relies on the production, release, detection and group-level response to extracellular signalling molecules, which are called autoinducers. Recent work has discovered new autoinducers in Gram-negative bacteria, shown how these molecules are recognized by cognate receptors, revealed new regulatory components that are embedded in canonical signalling circuits and identified novel regulatory network designs. In this Review we examine how, together, these features of quorum sensing signal-response systems combine to control collective behaviours in Gram-negative bacteria and we discuss the implications for host-microbial associations and antibacterial therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / chemistry
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / genetics
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / physiology*
  • Pheromones / chemistry
  • Pheromones / metabolism*
  • Quorum Sensing*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Pheromones