New research provides insights into how bacteria “talk” to each other in lung infections, which could provide strategies to block these signals and ease bacterial virulence in patients with cystic fibrosis.

The study, “Spatial determinants of quorum signaling in a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection model,” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Quorum sensing is a process through which bacteria send and receive molecules to regulate gene levels in response to changes in cell density. The process may lead to altered virulence or the ability to establish an infection. But little is known about quorum sensing or bacterial growth during infection.