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Summary

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative bacterial species that causes several opportunistic human infections. This organism is also found in the environment, where it is renowned (like other Pseudomonads) for its ability to use a wide variety of compounds as carbon and energy sources. It is a model species for studying group-related behaviour in bacteria. Two types of group behaviour it engages in are intercellular signalling, or quorum sensing, and the formation of surface-associated communities called biofilms. Both quorum sensing and biofilm formation are important in the pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa infections. Quorum sensing regulates the expression of several secreted virulence factors and quorum sensing mutant strains are attenuated for virulence in animal models. Biofilms have been implicated in chronic infections. Two examples are the chronic lung infections afflicting people suffering from cystic fibrosis and colonization of indwelling medical devices. This review will discuss quorum sensing and biofilm formation and studies that link these two processes.