Quorum sensing and biofilms in the pathogen, Streptococcus pneumoniae

Joana Galante, Alfred C. Y. Ho, Sarah Tingey, Bambos M. Charalambous*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bacteria are able to colonize and thrive in a variety of different environments as a biofilm, but only within the last half century new insights have been gained in this complex biosystem. Bacterial biofilms play a major role in human health by forming a defensive barrier against antibacterial chemical therapeutics and other potential pathogens, and in infectious disease when the bacteria invade normally sterile compartments. Quorum sensing is the signaling network for cell-to-cell communication and utilized by bacteria to regulate biofilms and other cellular processes. This review will describe recent advances in quorum sensing and biofilms. Initially, it will focus on Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilm regulation and the involvement of the ComABCDE pathway. As part of this review an original analysis of the genotypic and phenotypic variation of the signaling molecule, ComC and its cognate receptor ComD, firstly within the pneumococcal species and then within the genus Streptococcus will be presented. Additionally, a pathway similar to ComABCDE, the BlpABCSRH that regulates bacteriocin and immunity protein production that inhibit the growth of competing bacteria will be described. This review will then examine a third quorum sensing mechanism in the pneumococcus, the LuxS/AI-2, and present a novel gene and protein sequence comparative analysis that indicates its occurrence is more universal across bacterial genera compared with the Com pathway, with more sequence similarities between bacterial genera that are known to colonize the mucosal epithelium.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-30
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Pharmaceutical Design
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Keywords

  • Biofilm
  • Infectious disease
  • Mucosal colonizers
  • Nasopharynx
  • Quorum sensing
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

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