Coumarin: a novel player in microbial quorum sensing and biofilm formation inhibition

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Reen, F. Jerry
Gutiérrez-Barranquero, José A.
Parages, María L.
O'Gara, Fergal
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Springer International Publishing AG
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Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat worldwide, causing serious problems in the treatment of microbial infections. The discovery and development of new drugs is urgently needed to overcome this problem which has greatly undermined the clinical effectiveness of conventional antibiotics. An intricate cell-cell communication system termed quorum sensing (QS) and the coordinated multicellular behaviour of biofilm formation have both been identified as promising targets for the treatment and clinical management of microbial infections. QS systems allow bacteria to adapt rapidly to harsh conditions, and are known to promote the formation of antibiotic tolerant biofilm communities. It is well known that biofilm is a recalcitrant mode of growth and it also increases bacterial resistance to conventional antibiotics. The pharmacological properties of coumarins have been well described, and these have included several that possess antimicrobial properties. More recently, reports have highlighted the potential role of coumarins as alternative therapeutic strategies based on their ability to block the QS signalling systems and to inhibit the formation of biofilms in clinically relevant pathogens. In addition to human infections, coumarins have also been found to be effective in controlling plant pathogens, infections in aquaculture, food spoilage and in reducing biofouling caused by eukaryotic organisms. Thus, the coumarin class of small molecule natural product are emerging as a promising strategy to combat bacterial infections in the new era of antimicrobial resistance.
Coumarin , Quorum sensing inhibition , Antibiofilm , Anti-infectives , Natural products
Reen, F. J., Gutiérrez-Barranquero, J. A., Parages, M. L. and O'Gara, F. (2018) 'Coumarin: a novel player in microbial quorum sensing and biofilm formation inhibition', Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 102(5), pp. 2063–2073. doi: 10.1007/s00253-018-8787-x