Quorum sensing, first observed by Princeton Microbiologist, Bonnie Bassler is the ability of bacteria to communicate and coordinate their behavior through signaling molecules. Her pioneering work began as an intense study of the bioluminiscent properties of the somewhat benign Vibrio fischeri bacteria found in the light-producing organ of the Hawaiian bobtail squid (Euprymna scolopes).
Her curiosity led her to notice that only after a sort of "critical mass" of these symbionts (symbiotic organisms) had formed, would the community living inside the squid's mantle "light up". Further study revealed that as they touched, they sensed each other's enzymes. As more and more V. fischeri team inside a contained concentration, they suddenly and simaltainiously get the urge to activatee their collective luciferin-luciferase system, thus emmitting visible light.
- More about vibrio fischeri: The phenomenal activities of V. fischeri provide a rich base for studying symbiosis, bioluminecsence, enzymatic communication, and even the Hawaiian bobtail squid's use of light in their mating rituals.
Bassler, now a professor at Princeton's Department of Molecular Biology is directing her team toward a study of the general phenomenology of quorum sensing in other much-less-harmless bacteria such as the deadly Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenic bacteria. Hopefully, learning to disrupt quorum sensing of the malevalent type, cures and remedies may develop for certain types of pathogen-induced illnesses.
Ask BB NOW as of 22:59, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
- PBS Profile: Bonnie Bassler
- The Quorum Sensing Website
- "QscR, a modulator of quorum-sensing signal synthesis" (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 98: 2752-2757) Abstract/Free Full Text 2001
- Bacterial quorum sensing in pathogenic relationships. (Infect. Immunol. 68: 4839-4849) Free Full Text 2000
- Cell-to-Cell Communication in Bacteria
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