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Quorum sensing mechanisms in fungi

Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Ramiro de Maeztu 9, 28040 Madrid, España

In the environment, cells from microorganisms can communicate to each other through the secretion of signal molecules, so-called autoinducers, which accumulate in the medium as the population density grows. When the concentration of these molecules reaches a threshold, different genes are induced or repressed, and processes such as sporulation, pathogenesis or symbiosis are initiated. These mechanisms, known as quorum sensing (QS), were first discovered in bacteria, and more recently have been identified in fungi. The model eukaryote organism for this kind of studies is the dimorphic pathogenic yeast Candida albicans. However, QS mechanisms have been described in a variety of fungi with clinical or biotechnological interest. Hence, the study of these mechanisms may be useful to prevent fungal infections, and interesting for its exploitation in industrial biotechnology.
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