Decoding Microbes' secret language

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London, Jan 1 (UNI) After innumerable studies on animal language, scientists are now almost through with decoding the special chemical language used by bacteria to talk.

The study might lead to new treatments for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including ''superbugs'' that infect more than 90,000 people in the United States each year, experts believe.

Microbes release small molecules that enable millions of individuals in a population to coordinate their behaviour.

Disease-causing bacteria use the language to decide when to infect a person or other host. Decoding the structure and function of compounds involved in this elaborate signaling process, known as ''quorum sensing'', could lead to new medicines to block the signals and prevent infections.

The report published in Science Daily describes development of a group of powerful compounds, called N-acylated homoserine lactone (AHL) analogues that are effective against a broad-range of bacterial types, including those that cause diseases in humans.

These compounds are ''some of the most potent synthetic modulators of quorum sensing''. In addition to showing promise for fighting antibiotic-resistant infections, the compounds may help prevent the growth of biofilms that foul medical implants and cause tooth decay and gum disease.

UNI XC SYU KN1823

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