Quorum sensing (QS) refers to the ability of microbial cells to communicate with one another to determine their densities. This communication is usually facilitated by the production and extracellular export of a small signaling molecule which other bacteria can then detect. The concentration of the small molecule is tied to transcriptional regulation in members of the quorum sensing bacterial population. The more QS bacteria producing the small signaling molecule in a given area, the higher the concentration of that molecule. When the small molecule concentration reaches a certain amount, the bacteria are at 'quorum' and all participating QS bacteria undergo changes in gene expression. In natural environments, this change often involves increases in virulence, biofilm formation, bioluminescence, sporulation, or competence. In synthetic environments, these signals can be used as input for genetic circuits. QS is currently an area of intense research for its implications in human health, microbial ecology, and more recently, synthetic biology.
AHL Mediated QS Systems
Gram neAcyl-homoserine lactones (AHLs) are variable small molecules generated by
AIP Mediated Systems
Applications of Quorum Sensing in Synthetic Biology