Microbial linguistics: perspectives and applications of microbial cell-to-cell communication
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- Microbial linguistics: perspectives and applications of microbial cell-to-cell communication
- Mitchell, Robert J.; Lee, Sung Kuk; Kim, Taesung; Ghim, Cheol-Min
- Issue Date
- KOREAN SOCIETY BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
- BMB REPORTS, v.44, no.1, pp.1 - 10
- Inter-cellular communication via diffusible small molecules is a defining character not only of multicellular forms of life but also of single-celled organisms. A large number of bacterial genes are regulated by the change of chemical milieu mediated by the local population density of its own species or others. The cell density-dependent "autoinducer" molecules regulate the expression of those genes involved in genetic competence, biofilm formation and persistence, virulence, sporulation, bioluminescence, antibiotic production, and many others. Recent innovations in recombinant DNA technology and micro-/nano-fluidics systems render the genetic circuitry responsible for cell-to-cell communication feasible to and malleable via synthetic biological approaches. Here we review the current understanding of the molecular biology of bacterial intercellular communication and the novel experimental protocols and platforms used to investigate this phenomenon. A particular emphasis is given to the genetic regulatory circuits that provide the standard building blocks which constitute the syntax of the biochemical communication network Thus, this review gives focus to the engineering principles necessary for rewiring bacterial chemo-communication for various applications, ranging from population-level gene expression control to the study of host-pathogen interactions.
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