Fungal Quorum Sensing – And Terpenes

Micro-organisms have developed several communication platforms within the cells to allow for adaptation of surrounding environmental changes. This includes cell-to-cell communication termed ‘Quorum sensing’. Using gene regulation and internal mechanisms of the cell, a cell can release specific chemical signals or markers that affect and interact with other cells.

This communication was discovered first in Bacteria around 1970 and was later confirmed to be found in Fungi around 2002 (after the discovery that farnesol controls filamentation in the pathogenic polymorphic fungus Candida Albicans).

It is noted that Quorum sensing is used amongst fungi for defense, biofilm secretion, anti-fungal properties, virulence expression factors, nutrient acquisition, and synchronization of reproduction.

(In my personal view), the reproduction theory of Quorum sensing may help to explain mechanisms for how haploid cells connect and find other haploid cells.

In recent history, the surrmounting evidence of plant and bacterial communication using Terpenes is also applicable to Fungi. The Volatile Organic Compounds, (or smells and pheremones) called Terpenes/Terpenoids are used for intercellular communication and interaction with fungal communications.

Theoretically, Fungi, Plants, and Bacteria can all be communicating via Terpenes and other Quorum sensing modalities.

To Recap,

There’s pretty cool evidence that essentially the Fungal Cells ‘talk’ to eachother (fungal cells) using various communication modalities. In theory, Fungi also ‘talk’ to bacteria and plants, and hold a chemical ‘conversation’ of sorts in communication. It has me think about animals and how some insects also use pheremones, smells, and chemical markers to talk. Perhaps ants and more are a part of the communicative web that sustains forest life.

The above information is theoretical and nothing stated is explicitly objectively true and this website itself is not an authority nor backed by academia. This is merely sharing some data of works performed, and is more of a representational snippet of a longer dialogue between academics rather than the full and whole story with counterarguments and counter theories and such.

Here are some links to some studies used as a reference;

Bacterial Quorum Sensing: Its Role in Virulence and Possibilities for Its Control
Fungal Quorum-Sensing Molecules and Inhibitors with Potential Antifungal Activity: A Review
Quorum sensing in fungi – a review
Quorum sensing in bacteria

No specific study was cited for the information about Terpene specific communication, and thus was based on prior knowledge garnered from various modalities. This article isn’t an academic paper, although the hope that the information laid here-in can still help researchers go towards a possible direction for study and research. Theoretical possibilities are, well, still possible, after all.

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