Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 3, 2010
Previous Article Next Article

Quorum sensing and bacterial biofilms

Author affiliations


Covering: up to 2009

This review describes the chemistry of the bacterial biofilms including the chemistry of their constituents and signalling compounds that mediate or inhibit the formation of biofilms. Systems are described with special emphasis, in which quorum sensing molecules (autoinducers) trigger the formation of biofilms. In the first instance, N-acyl-L-homoserine lactones (AHLs) are the focus of this review, whereas the inter-species signal known as furanosyl borate diester and peptide autoinducers used by Gram-positive bacteria are not discussed in detail. Since the first discovery of an AHL autoinducer from Vibrio fischeri a large and further increasing number of different AHL structures from Gram-negative bacteria have been identified. This review gives a summary of all known AHL autoinducers and producing bacterial species. A few systems are discussed, where biofilm formation is suppressed by enzymatic degradation of AHL molecules or interference of secondary metabolites from other species with the quorum sensing systems of communicating bacteria. Finally, the multi-channel quorum sensing system, the intracellular downstream processing of the signal, and the resulting response of whole populations including biofilm formation are discussed for the Vibrio genus that has been extensively investigated.

Graphical abstract: Quorum sensing and bacterial biofilms

Back to tab navigation

Article information

29 Oct 2009
First published
03 Feb 2010

Nat. Prod. Rep., 2010,27, 343-369
Article type
Review Article

Quorum sensing and bacterial biofilms

J. S. Dickschat, Nat. Prod. Rep., 2010, 27, 343
DOI: 10.1039/B804469B

Social activity

Search articles by author