Scientists are continuously making efforts to understand the quorum sensing, chemical conversations among bacterias, so that they can understand the rules of engagement among microscopic organisms. These conversations allow bacteria, which are single-celled organisms, to turn on genes that synchronizes group activities. Luminescent bacteria known as Vibrio fischeri that populate marine animals led the discovery of quorum sensing. Light emission is costly to the bacteria, and they only produce the necessary proteins when there are enough bacteria in close quarters to make substantial light. The production of luminescent proteins is tied to an acyl homoserine lactone (AHL) that V.fischeri both release and detect. When there are enough bacteria to produce substantial light, bacteria can agree to turn on genes to produce the luminescent proteins. Quorum sensing is a growing focus for researchers looking for new ways to control pathogenic bugs.
Everts, S. (2006). Bacterial conversations.