Quorum quenching enzymes and their effects on virulence, biofilm, and microbiomes: a review of recent advances

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Introduction: Numerous bacterial behaviors are regulated by a cell-density dependent mechanism known as Quorum Sensing (QS). QS relies on communication between bacterial cells using diffusible signaling molecules known as autoinducers. QS regulates physiological processes such as metabolism, virulence, and biofilm formation. Quorum Quenching (QQ) is the inhibition of QS using chemical or enzymatic means to counteract behaviors regulated by QS. Areas covered: We examine the main, diverse QS mechanisms present in bacterial species, with a special emphasis on AHL-mediated QS. We also discuss key in vitro and in vivo systems in which interference in QS was investigated. Additionally, we highlight promising developments, such as the substrate preference of the used enzymatic quencher, in the application of interference in QS to counter bacterial virulence. Expert opinion: Enabled via the recent isolation of highly stable quorum quenching enzymes and/or molecular engineering efforts, the effects of the interference in QS were recently evaluated outside of the traditional model of single species culture. Signal disruption in complex microbial communities was shown to result in the disruption of complex microbial behaviors, and changes in population structures. These new findings, and future studies, may result in significant changes in the traditional views about QS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1221-1233
Number of pages13
JournalExpert review of anti-infective therapy
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number R35GM133487. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Quorum quenching (QQ)
  • Quorum sensing (QS)
  • lactonase
  • microbiome
  • signaling


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