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Controlling Biofilms of Gram-Positive Pathogenic Bacteria

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Many bacteria can form aggregates on interfaces, called biofilms, where they are much more protected against toxic agents such as antibiotics or antibodies. Bacteria organized in biofilms are therefore very difficult to control and often even high dosages of antibiotics cannot clear infectious biofilms. To form biofilms bacteria have to start a complex genetic program to switch from planktonic to sessile lifestyle. This starts with the determination of their cell density, a process called quorum sensing, triggered by small, water soluble molecules, so called autoinducers. From Gram-positive bacteria several small peptides are known, many of them thiolactones. More recently another group of compounds was discovered probably formed from ribose-homocysteine and the first autoinducer-II identified is a furanosyl borate diester. While small peptides are found to trigger the intraspecies communication autoinducer-II is assumed to be used for communication at the interspecies level. Taking the lead structure from these peptides several derivatives have been developed which prevent biofilm formation in many Gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus. Some of these compounds are already in clinical studies. In this review the different approaches to control bacterial biofilms are discussed together with the difficulties arising from the species-specificity of the autoinducers.
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Keywords: Biofilm; Gram-positive bacteria; autoinducing peptides; quorum-sensing; two-component regulatory systems

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: GBF - National Research Centre for Biotechnology, Chemical Microbiology, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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