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Trends in biochemical sciences

The enzymes of bacterial census and censorship.


PMID 22099187

Abstract

N-Acyl-L-homoserine lactones (AHLs) are a major class of quorum-sensing signals used by Gram-negative bacteria to regulate gene expression in a population-dependent manner, thereby enabling group behavior. Enzymes capable of generating and catabolizing AHL signals are of significant interest for the study of microbial ecology and quorum-sensing pathways, for understanding the systems that bacteria have evolved to interact with small-molecule signals, and for their possible use in therapeutic and industrial applications. The recent structural and functional studies reviewed here provide a detailed insight into the chemistry and enzymology of bacterial communication.