Clinically significant antibiotic resistance is one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century. Yet new antibiotics are currently being developed at a much slower pace than our growing need for such drugs. Instead of focusing on conventional therapeutics that target in vitro
bacterial viability, an alternative therapy is to target virulence factors and biofilms. Such anti-virulence strategies have attracted more and more attention rencently, for it would add both supplement and diversity to our current antimicrobial library. This approach has several potential
advantages including imposing less evolutionary pressure on the development of antibiotic resistance, increasing the antibacterial targets and preserving the host endogenous microbiome. Quorum sensing is an intercellular communication process in bacterial communities, which can regulate coordinated
expression of virulence factors and biofilms. N-Acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) are autoinducers generated by a variety of Gram-negative bacteria. These signals combining with their cognate LuxR-type receptors trigger the expression of virulence genes. In this critical review, we summarize
various structual types of small molecules targeting AHL-based quorum sensing to attenuate bacteria virulence factors and biofilms.
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