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Bacteria clustering by polymers induces the expression of quorum-sensing-controlled phenotypes

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Natalio Krasnogor


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Bacteria deploy a range of chemistries to regulate their behaviour and respond to their environment. Quorum sensing is one method by which bacteria use chemical reactions to modulate pre-infection behaviour such as surface attachment. Polymers that can interfere with bacterial adhesion or the chemical reactions used for quorum sensing are therefore a potential means to control bacterial population responses. Here, we report how polymeric 'bacteria sequestrants', designed to bind to bacteria through electrostatic interactions and therefore inhibit bacterial adhesion to surfaces, induce the expression of quorum-sensing-controlled phenotypes as a consequence of cell clustering. A combination of polymer and analytical chemistry, biological assays and computational modelling has been used to characterize the feedback between bacteria clustering and quorum sensing signalling. We have also derived design principles and chemical strategies for controlling bacterial behaviour at the population level.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lui LT, Xue X, Sui C, Brown A, Pritchard DI, Halliday N, Winzer K, Howdle SM, Fernandez-Trillo F, Krasnogor N, Alexander C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Chemistry

Year: 2013

Volume: 5

Issue: 12

Pages: 1058-1065

Print publication date: 01/12/2013

Online publication date: 10/11/2013

Acceptance date: 04/10/2013

ISSN (print): 1755-4330

ISSN (electronic): 1755-4349

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/NCHEM.1793


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