Quorum sensing peptides in the ageing immune system

Quorum sensing peptides (QSPs) are characteristic bacterial products, constitutively produced by living bacteria and exhibiting an increased and/or altered production in “stress” conditions. They have long been considered as intra-bacterial communication molecules only. However, nowadays, it is generally accepted that this communication is not limited to the bacteria themselves, but also play a role in for example colorectal cancer, the central nervous system and muscle wasting [1-3].

At TRIGG, we investigate the potential interactions of bacterial quorum sensing peptides (QSP) with the human immune system. This research is focused on the ageing immune system, which is partly responsible for the frailty phenotype in older people. For example, age-associated immune alterations result in poor response to vaccinations, a lower anti-cancer immune potential and increased risk of sarcopenia, the muscle wasting with aging [4].

[1] De Spiegeleer A, Elewaut D, Van den Noortgate N, Janssens Y, Debunne N, Van Langenhove S, et al. Quorum sensing molecules as a novel microbial factor impacting muscle cells. Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta-Molecular Basis of Disease. 2020;1866(3):165646.
[2] Janssens Y, Debunne N, De Spiegeleer A, Wynendaele E, Planas M, Feliu L, et al. PapRIV, a BV-2 microglial cell activating quorum sensing peptide. Scientific Reports. 2021;11(1):10723.
[3] Wynendaele E, Debunne N, Janssens Y, De Spiegeleer A, Verbeke F, Tack L, et al. The quorum sensing peptide EntF* promotes colorectal cancer metastasis in mice: a new factor in the host-microbiome interaction. BMC biology. 2022;20(1):151.
[4] D. Piber, R. Olmstead, J.H.J. Cho, T. Witarama, C. Perez, N. Dietz, T.E. Seeman, E.C. Breen, S.W. Cole, M.R. Irwin, Inflammaging: Age and Systemic, Cellular, and Nuclear Inflammatory Biology in Older Adults, Journals of Gerontology Series a-Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 74(11) (2019) 1716-1724.