Silencing the mob: Disrupting quorum sensing as a means to fight plant disease

Yael Helman*, Leonid Chernin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Bacteria are able to sense their population's density through a cell-cell communication system, termed 'quorum sensing' (QS). This system regulates gene expression in response to cell density through the constant production and detection of signalling molecules. These molecules commonly act as auto-inducers through the up-regulation of their own synthesis. Many pathogenic bacteria, including those of plants, rely on this communication system for infection of their hosts. The finding that the countering of QS-disrupting mechanisms exists in many prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms offers a promising novel method to fight disease. During the last decade, several approaches have been proposed to disrupt QS pathways of phytopathogens, and hence to reduce their virulence. Such studies have had varied success invivo, but most lend promising support to the idea that QS manipulation could be a potentially effective method to reduce bacterial-mediated plant disease. This review discusses the various QS-disrupting mechanisms found in both bacteria and plants, as well as the different approaches applied artificially to interfere with QS pathways and thus protect plant health.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)316-329
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Plant Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Acylhomoserine lactone
  • Lactonase
  • Plant-pathogenic bacteria
  • Quorum quenching
  • Quorum sensing


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