Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Gastroenterol. Nov 14, 2021; 27(42): 7247-7270
Published online Nov 14, 2021. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v27.i42.7247
Gossip in the gut: Quorum sensing, a new player in the host-microbiota interactions
Garance Coquant, Doriane Aguanno, Sandrine Pham, Nathan Grellier, Sophie Thenet, Véronique Carrière, Jean-Pierre Grill, Philippe Seksik
Garance Coquant, Doriane Aguanno, Sandrine Pham, Nathan Grellier, Sophie Thenet, Véronique Carrière, Jean-Pierre Grill, Philippe Seksik, Centre de Recherche Saint-Antoine, INSERM, Sorbonne Université, Paris 75012, France
Doriane Aguanno, Sandrine Pham, Sophie Thenet, EPHE, PSL University, Paris 75014, France
Philippe Seksik, Department of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Saint-Antoine Hospital, APHP, Paris 75012, France
Author contributions: Coquant G and Seksik P designed the outline of the review; Coquant G, Grill JP and Seksik P wrote part I; Coquant G, Aguanno D, Thenet S, Carrière V and Seksik P wrote part II; Aguanno D, Coquant G, Pham S and Grellier N wrote part III; Aguanno D and Coquant G made the figures; Coquant G and Aguanno D harmonized and formatted the different sections; all authors have reviewed the entire manuscript.
Supported by Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale, No. EQU202003010171; Association François Aupetit, No. AHLs 2019 and No. AHLs 2021; Fondation pour la Recherche Médical FRM, No. ECO201806006843 (to Coquant G); and CORDDIM, Ile-de-France Region (to Aguanno D).
Conflict-of-interest statement: Seksik P reports consulting fees from Abbvie, Takeda, Merck-MSD, Pfizer, Astellas, Janssen and Biocodex and grants from Biocodex and Janssen. These COIs are unrelated to the current presentation. All other authors declare no conflict of interests for this article.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Philippe Seksik, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Saint-Antoine Hospital, APHP, 184, rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris 75012, France.
Received: March 16, 2021
Peer-review started: March 16, 2021
First decision: August 9, 2021
Revised: August 17, 2021
Accepted: October 27, 2021
Article in press: October 27, 2021
Published online: November 14, 2021

Bacteria are known to communicate with each other and regulate their activities in social networks by secreting and sensing signaling molecules called autoinducers, a process known as quorum sensing (QS). This is a growing area of research in which we are expanding our understanding of how bacteria collectively modify their behavior but are also involved in the crosstalk between the host and gut microbiome. This is particularly relevant in the case of pathologies associated with dysbiosis or disorders of the intestinal ecosystem. This review will examine the different QS systems and the evidence for their presence in the intestinal ecosystem. We will also provide clues on the role of QS molecules that may exert, directly or indirectly through their bacterial gossip, an influence on intestinal epithelial barrier function, intestinal inflammation, and intestinal carcinogenesis. This review aims to provide evidence on the role of QS molecules in gut physiology and the potential shared by this new player. Better understanding the impact of intestinal bacterial social networks and ultimately developing new therapeutic strategies to control intestinal disorders remains a challenge that needs to be addressed in the future.

Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease, Quorum sensing, Gut microbiota, Dysbiosis, Inflammation, Intestinal barrier

Core Tip: Host-microbiota interactions play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of many intestinal diseases. While biological components have been repeatedly described, a largely overlooked component is quorum sensing (QS), a density-dependent system able to coordinate bacterial responses and interact with host cells constantly exposed to bacteria. This review intends to describe the different QS systems to show evidence that QS is part of the intestinal ecosystem and highlight its impact on intestinal epithelial barrier function, inflammation, and intestinal carcinogenesis. From this report, we open up a new area of intestinal physiology.