Journal of Ocean University of China

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1427–1442 | Cite as

The Mechanisms and Applications of Quorum Sensing (QS) and Quorum Quenching (QQ)

  • Jingjing Zhang
  • Tao Feng
  • Jiayi Wang
  • Yan WangEmail author
  • Xiao-Hua Zhang


Quorum sensing (QS) is a regulatory system that regulates the behavior of microbial populations by sensing the concentration of signal molecules that are spontaneously produced and released by bacteria. The strategy of blocking the QS system and inhibiting the production of virulence factors is termed as quorum quenching (QQ). This strategy attenuates virulence without killing the pathogens, thereby weakening the selective pressure on pathogens and postponing the evolution of QQ-mediated drug resistance. In recent years, there have been significant theoretical and practical developments in the field of QS and QQ. In particular, with the development and utilization of marine resources, more and more marine microbial species have been found to be regulated by these two mechanisms, further promoting the research progress of QS and QQ. In this review, we described the diversity of QS signals and QS-related regulatory systems, and then introduced mechanisms related to QS interference, with particular emphasis on the description of natural QQ enzymes and chemicals acting as QS inhibitors. Finally, the exploitation of quorum sensing quenchers and the practical application of QQ were introduced, while some QQ strategies were proposed as promising tools in different fields such as medicine, aquaculture, agriculture and biological pollution prevention areas.

Key words

quorum sensing quorum quenching marine microorganisms antibiotic resistance 


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We are very grateful to Dr. Yunxuan Xie in Tianjin University for his suggestions and language modification. This work was supported by the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program by China Association for Science and Technology (CAST) (No. YESS20160009), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 31870023, 31571970 and 41506160).


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Copyright information

© Ocean University of China, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jingjing Zhang
    • 1
  • Tao Feng
    • 1
  • Jiayi Wang
    • 1
  • Yan Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Xiao-Hua Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Marine Life SciencesOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Ecology and Environmental ScienceQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.Institute of Evolution & Marine BiodiversityOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina

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