The survival of all organisms depends on implementation of appropriate phenotypic responses upon perception of relevant environmental stimuli. Sensory inputs are propagated via interconnected biochemical and/or electrical cascades mediated by diverse signaling molecules, including gases, metal cations, lipids, peptides, and nucleotides. These networks often comprise second messenger signaling systems in which a ligand (the primary messenger) binds to an extracellular receptor, thereby altering the intracellular concentration of a second messenger molecule which ultimately modulates gene expression through interaction with various effectors. The identification of intersections of these signaling pathways, such as nucleotide second messengers and quorum sensing, provides new insights into the mechanisms by which bacteria use multiple inputs to regulate cellular metabolism and phenotypes. Further investigations of the overlap between bacterial signaling pathways may yield new targets and methods to control bacterial behavior, such as biofilm formation and virulence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases