Bacterial signaling as an antimicrobial target

Melissa Ellermann, Vanessa Sperandio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Antibiotics profoundly reduced worldwide mortality. However, the emergence of resistance to the growth inhibiting effects of these drugs occurred. New approaches to treat infectious disease that reduce the likelihood for resistance are needed. In bacterial pathogens, complex signaling networks regulate virulence. Anti-virulence therapies aim to disrupt these networks to attenuate virulence without affecting growth. Quorum-sensing, a cell-to-cell communication system, represents an attractive anti-virulence target because it often activates virulence. The challenge is to identify druggable targets that inhibit virulence, while also minimizing the likelihood of mutations promoting resistance. Moreover, given the ubiquity of quorum-sensing systems in commensals, any potential effects of anti-virulence therapies on microbiome function should also be considered. Here we highlight the efficacy and drawbacks of anti-virulence approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-86
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
StatePublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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