Quorum Sensing and Social Interactions in Microbial Biofilms
Robert J. Goldstone, Roman Popat, Matthew P. Fletcher, Shanika A. Crusz and Stephen P. Diggle
from: Microbial Biofilms: Current Research and Applications (Edited by: Gavin Lear and Gillian D. Lewis). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)
It is now well recognised that populations of bacteria from many Gram-positive and Gram-negative species cooperate and communicate to perform diverse social behaviours including swarming, toxin production and biofilm formation. Communication between bacterial cells involves the production and detection of diffusible signal molecules and has become commonly known as quorum sensing (QS). In addition, an evolutionary perspective on QS illuminates important phenomena which help in understanding the prevalence and diversity of QS phenotypes and strategies under various conditions. The research fields of QS and biofilm formation often overlap with a number of studies demonstrating that QS is an important regulatory mechanism of biofilm formation in a variety of bacterial species. However in contrast, there are conflicting reports, demonstrating that QS appears to play a minimal role in the development of biofilms. Our aim in this review is to highlight the key findings with respect to QS and the subsequent impact on biofilm formation. We also discuss QS and cooperation in the context of social evolution and how this may impact on the development and maintenance of microbial biofilms read more ...