Detection of bacterial quorum sensing N-acyl homoserine lactones in clinical samples

Anjali Kumari, Patrizia Pasini, Sylvia Daunert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Bacteria communicate among themselves using certain chemical signaling molecules. These signaling molecules generally are N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) in Gram-negative bacteria and oligopeptides in Gram-positive bacteria. In addition, both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria produce a family of signaling molecules known as autoinducer-2 that they employ for their communications. Bacteria coordinate their behavior by releasing and responding to the chemical signaling molecules present in proportion to their population density. This phenomenon is known as quorum sensing. The role of bacteria in the pathogenesis of several diseases, including gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, is well established. Moreover, rather recently bacterial quorum sensing has been implicated in the onset of bacterial pathogenicity. Thus, we hypothesized that the signaling molecules involved in bacterial communication may serve as potential biomarkers for the diagnosis and management of several bacteria-related diseases. For that, we previously developed a method based on genetically engineered whole-cell sensing systems for the rapid, sensitive, cost-effective and quantitative detection of AHLs in biological samples, such as saliva and stool, from both healthy and diseased individuals with GI disorders. Although various analytical methods, based on physical-chemical techniques and bacterial whole-cell biosensors, have been developed for the detection of AHLs in the supernatants of bacterial cultures, only a few of them have been applied to AHL monitoring in real samples. In this paper, we report work performed in our laboratory and review that from others that describes the detection of AHLs in biological, clinical samples, and report some of our recent experimental results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1619-1627
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical and bioanalytical chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacteria
  • N-Acyl homoserine lactones
  • Pathogenicity
  • Physiological samples
  • Quorum sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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