The basic assumption behind the present research program is that common cell to cell communication exist among bacteria. Communication systems enable the bacteria to coordinate and organize their efforts and exhibit cooperative behavioral patterns. This is fundamental to the interaction of bacteria with each other, their environ-ment and particularly higher organisms. Swarming motility is an example of bacterial collaborative behavior inextricably associated with cell-cell contact, intercellular communication and cell differentiation. In the model organism Serratia liquefaciens cell differentiation is induced by surface exposure and controlled by the flagellar master regulator flhDC. The movement of the cell mass requires intercellular communication which is mediated via small diffusible N-acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) signal molecules.This communication system regulates expression of exoenzymes but most importantly it controls production of extracellular bio-surfactants facilitating translocation of the multicellular microbial consortium the result of which is formation of a biofilm covering the available surface. Compounds that interfere with bacterial communication have been identified as major constituents of the biofouling protection systems developed by the Australian seaweed Delisea pulchra. This eucaryotic organism produces a number of halogenated furanones, some of which are structurally similar to the bacterial AHLs. These compounds have strong biological activity, including antifouling and antimicrobial properties. The furanone compounds inhibit swarming motility of not only S. liquefaciens, but also a number of other bacteria including P. mirabilis. The above examples illustrate the importance of communication systems for multicellular behavior and colonization processes of bacteria and directly suggest that such systems may be broadly important to bacterial/eukaryote interactions.
|Effective start/end date||01/01/1996 → 01/01/9999|