WARF: P05282US

Compounds and Methods for Modulating Communication and Virulence in Quorum Sensing Bacteria


Helen Blackwell, Grant Geske, Rachel Wezeman

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing novel compounds capable of inhibiting quorum sensing bacteria.
OVERVIEWMany Gram-negative bacteria use quorum sensing to communicate population density through the use of autoinducer ligands like acyl-homoserine lactone (AHL). When density gets high, the bacteria become a community and create a biofilm, which provides a microenvironment conducive to infection.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a library of novel compounds that decrease the virulence of quorum sensing bacteria by blocking AHL binding. These non-native natural or synthetic AHL analogs bind to receptors in the cell membrane. With the receptors filled, the autoinducer ligand is blocked and gene expression, including biofilm formation, is inhibited, decreasing the likelihood of infection.
  • Treating bacterial infections
  • Inhibiting biofilm formation
  • No antibacterial compounds currently target the quorum sensing pathway.
  • Can be used to treat bacterial infection without antibiotics
  • Increases the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics
  • Does not select for drug resistance in bacteria
  • Could decrease cost of treating bacterial infections involving biofilms, which exceeds $1 billion per year in the U.S.
  • Slows food spoilage
  • Prevents fouling of water in paper making and water treatment industries
For More Information About the Inventors
Related Intellectual Property
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or 608-960-9847.
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