Research Topic

Microbial talk: Chemical signaling and signal destruction

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Within the last two decades a wealth of molecular mechanisms and signaling molecules involved in bacterial cell—cell communication have been described. These molecules have been identified as being part of a ‘bacterial language’ termed Quorum sensing (QS).

QS affects many important processes in ...

Within the last two decades a wealth of molecular mechanisms and signaling molecules involved in bacterial cell—cell communication have been described. These molecules have been identified as being part of a ‘bacterial language’ termed Quorum sensing (QS).

QS affects many important processes in bacteria through regulatory networks which usually promote collective behavior. Among them are biofilm formation, pathogenicity and host related processes, secretion, and others. This research has certainly led to a much better understanding of interactions of bacteria within their own kind but also increased our understanding on host-pathogen or symbiotic interaction dramatically. While a number of QS signals have been identified, it is to be expected that many more QS signaling molecules are out there and wait to be discovered. Thereby it was earlier expected that the QS signaling results in mostly homogenous gene expression within isogenic populations. However, recently evidence is accumulating that high levels of heterogeneity exist with respect to QS dependent processes at the single-cell level. This can in part be explained through the formation of signal gradients and signal destruction, stochastic events, but also through the action of molecular switches on single cell levels.

To bring together knowledge from these different levels of cell-cell communication this Research Topic accepts articles focusing on the one hand on the identification of novel QS signal molecules, their roles within the population and/or on a single cell level. On the other hand the topic should also be a platform for research articles dealing with signal destruction and the formation of signal gradients within cell populations.


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