Conversations in the Gut: The Role of Quorum Sensing in Normobiosis

Victor Markus, Abraham Abbey Paul, Kerem Teralı, Nazmi Özer, Robert S. Marks, Karina Golberg, Ariel Kushmaro

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


An imbalance in gut microbiota, termed dysbiosis, has been shown to affect host health. Several factors, including dietary changes, have been reported to cause dysbiosis with its associated pathologies that include inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, obesity, depression, and autism. We recently demonstrated the inhibitory effects of artificial sweeteners on bacterial quorum sensing (QS) and proposed that QS inhibition may be one mechanism behind such dysbiosis. QS is a complex network of cell–cell communication that is mediated by small diffusible molecules known as autoinducers (AIs). Using AIs, bacteria interact with one another and coordinate their gene expression based on their population density for the benefit of the whole community or one group over another. Bacteria that cannot synthesize their own AIs secretly “listen” to the signals produced by other bacteria, a phenomenon known as “eavesdropping”. AIs impact gut microbiota equilibrium by mediating intra- and interspecies interactions as well as interkingdom communication. In this review, we discuss the role of QS in normobiosis (the normal balance of bacteria in the gut) and how interference in QS causes gut microbial imbalance. First, we present a review of QS discovery and then highlight the various QS signaling molecules used by bacteria in the gut. We also explore strategies that promote gut bacterial activity via QS activation and provide prospects for the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3722
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2023


  • autoinducers
  • bacteria
  • dysbiosis
  • gut
  • health
  • normobiosis
  • quorum sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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