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      Reactive Oxygen Species in the Signaling and Adaptation of Multicellular Microbial Communities


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          One of the universal traits of microorganisms is their ability to form multicellular structures, the cells of which differentiate and communicate via various signaling molecules. Reactive oxygen species (ROS), and hydrogen peroxide in particular, have recently become well-established signaling molecules in higher eukaryotes, but still little is known about the regulatory functions of ROS in microbial structures. Here we summarize current knowledge on the possible roles of ROS during the development of colonies and biofilms, representatives of microbial multicellularity. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae colonies, ROS are predicted to participate in regulatory events involved in the induction of ammonia signaling and later on in programmed cell death in the colony center. While the latter process seems to be induced by the total ROS, the former event is likely to be regulated by ROS-homeostasis, possibly H 2O 2-homeostasis between the cytosol and mitochondria. In Candida albicans biofilms, the predicted signaling role of ROS is linked with quorum sensing molecule farnesol that significantly affects biofilm formation. In bacterial biofilms, ROS induce genetic variability, promote cell death in specific biofilm regions, and possibly regulate biofilm development. Thus, the number of examples suggesting ROS as signaling molecules and effectors in the development of microbial multicellularity is rapidly increasing.

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          A common mechanism of cellular death induced by bactericidal antibiotics.

          Antibiotic mode-of-action classification is based upon drug-target interaction and whether the resultant inhibition of cellular function is lethal to bacteria. Here we show that the three major classes of bactericidal antibiotics, regardless of drug-target interaction, stimulate the production of highly deleterious hydroxyl radicals in Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, which ultimately contribute to cell death. We also show, in contrast, that bacteriostatic drugs do not produce hydroxyl radicals. We demonstrate that the mechanism of hydroxyl radical formation induced by bactericidal antibiotics is the end product of an oxidative damage cellular death pathway involving the tricarboxylic acid cycle, a transient depletion of NADH, destabilization of iron-sulfur clusters, and stimulation of the Fenton reaction. Our results suggest that all three major classes of bactericidal drugs can be potentiated by targeting bacterial systems that remediate hydroxyl radical damage, including proteins involved in triggering the DNA damage response, e.g., RecA.
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            Bacterial quorum-sensing network architectures.

            Quorum sensing is a cell-cell communication process in which bacteria use the production and detection of extracellular chemicals called autoinducers to monitor cell population density. Quorum sensing allows bacteria to synchronize the gene expression of the group, and thus act in unison. Here, we review the mechanisms involved in quorum sensing with a focus on the Vibrio harveyi and Vibrio cholerae quorum-sensing systems. We discuss the differences between these two quorum-sensing systems and the differences between them and other paradigmatic bacterial signal transduction systems. We argue that the Vibrio quorum-sensing systems are optimally designed to precisely translate extracellular autoinducer information into internal changes in gene expression. We describe how studies of the V. harveyi and V. cholerae quorum-sensing systems have revealed some of the fundamental mechanisms underpinning the evolution of collective behaviors.
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              Evolving concepts in biofilm infections.

              Several pathogens associated with chronic infections, including Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis pneumonia, Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae in chronic otitis media, Staphylococcus aureus in chronic rhinosinusitis and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in recurrent urinary tract infections, are linked to biofilm formation. Biofilms are usually defined as surface-associated microbial communities, surrounded by an extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix. Biofilm formation has been demonstrated for numerous pathogens and is clearly an important microbial survival strategy. However, outside of dental plaques, fewer reports have investigated biofilm development in clinical samples. Typically biofilms are found in chronic diseases that resist host immune responses and antibiotic treatment and these characteristics are often cited for the ability of bacteria to persist in vivo. This review examines some recent attempts to examine the biofilm phenotype in vivo and discusses the challenges and implications for defining a biofilm phenotype.

                Author and article information

                Oxid Med Cell Longev
                Oxid Med Cell Longev
                Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                1 July 2012
                : 2012
                : 976753
                1Department of Genetics and Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Charles University in Prague, 128 44 Prague 2, Czech Republic
                2Division of Cell and Molecular Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the ASCR, v.v.i., 142 20 Prague 4, Czech Republic
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Ivan Spasojevic

                Copyright © 2012 Michal Čáp et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 13 April 2012
                : 24 May 2012
                Review Article

                Molecular medicine
                Molecular medicine


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