Kamila T. Yuyama and Wolf-Rainer Abraham Pages 3 - 12 ( 10 )
Background: Microbes attach to surfaces and form biofilms where they are difficult to eradicate. Here they are embedded in a complex matrix of polymers and are much less sensitive against antibiotics or the immune system.Objective: This is a growing problem, especially for implants; hence, novel approaches are urgently needed to control biofilm infections. Methods: Many of these approaches interfere with the communication between the microbial cells required for biofilm formation and maintenance, a process known as quorum sensing. But microbes have also several mechanisms to disperse their own biofilms if conditions become unfavourable. Results: Recently, it has been found that the pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa disperses its mature biofilms using cis-2-decenoic acid. This fatty acid belongs to a group of cis-2-alkenoic acids which are known from several bacteria and are also triggering the communication between different species. In this review the biosynthesis of these compounds, their signal transduction and their role in species-species communication are presented. Examples are discussed where cis-2-alkenoic acids have been used to eradicate biofilms and enhance the sensitivity of pathogens against antibiotics, either alone or in combination with antibiotics. Conclusion: This presents an interesting approach for the control of biofilm infections but it is still in its infancy and a much broader characterization of the effects of cis-2-alkenoic acids are needed before moving to any medical application.
Biofilm, quorum-sensing, diffusible signal factor (DSF), quorum-quenching, host-pathogen interaction, cis-2- alkenoic acids, antibiotics.
Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Chemical Microbiology, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.