I. Bacterial Communication via Quorum Sensing
II. Vibrio Cholerae Quorum Sensing and Developing Novel Antibiotics
Part I: Cell-Cell Communication in Bacteria
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Bacteria, primitive single-celled organisms, communicate with chemical languages that allow them to synchronize their behavior and thereby act as enormous multi-cellular organisms. This process is called quorum sensing and it enables bacteria to successfully infect and cause disease in plants, animals, and humans. Investigations of the molecular mechanisms underlying quorum sensing are leading to the development of novel strategies to interfere with quorum sensing. These strategies form the basis of new therapies to be used as antibiotics.
Bonnie Bassler is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University. Bassler received a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Davis, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Johns Hopkins University.
She performed postdoctoral work in Genetics at the Agouron Institute, and she joined the Princeton faculty in 1994. The research in her laboratory focuses on the molecular mechanisms that bacteria use for intercellular communication. This process is called quorum sensing. Dr. Bassler chairs Princeton University's Council on Science and Technology, she is the Director of Graduate Studies in the Molecular Biology Department, and she teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses.
Dr. Bassler was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2002. She was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2002 and made a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004. She was given the 2003 Theobald Smith Society Waksman Award and she is the 2006 recipient of the American Society for Microbiology's Eli Lilly Investigator Award for fundamental contributions to microbiological research.
In 2008, Bassler was given Princeton University's President's Award for Distinguished Teaching. Bassler is an editor for Molecular Microbiology and Annual Reviews of Genetics, and she is an associate editor for the Journal of Bacteriology. Among other duties, she serves on grant, fellowship, and award review panels for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, American Society for Microbiology, American Academy of Microbiology, Keck Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Trust, Helen Hay Whitney Foundation, and the Max Planck Society.
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Bassler, B.L. and R. Losick. 2006. Bacterially Speaking. Cell, 125:237-246.
Chen, X., S. Schauder, N. Potier, A. Van Dorsselaer, I. Pelczer, B.L. Bassler, and F.M. Hughson. 2002. Structural identification of a bacterial quorum sensing signal containing boron. Nature 415: 545-549.
Higgins, D.A., M.E. Pomianek, C.M. Kraml, R.K. Taylor, M.F. Semmelhack and B.L. Bassler. 2007. The major Vibrio cholerae autoinducer and its role in virulence factor production. Nature. 450:883-886.