Roles of indole as an interspecies and interkingdom signaling molecule

Jin Hyung Lee, Thomas K. Wood, Jintae Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

317 Scopus citations


A number of bacteria, and some plants, produce large quantities of indole, which is widespread in animal intestinal tracts and in the rhizosphere. Indole, as an interspecies and interkingdom signaling molecule, plays important roles in bacterial pathogenesis and eukaryotic immunity. Furthermore, indole and its derivatives are viewed as potential antivirulence compounds against antibiotic-resistant pathogens because of their ability to inhibit quorum sensing and virulence factor production. Indole modulates oxidative stress, intestinal inflammation, and hormone secretion in animals, and it controls plant defense systems and growth. Insects and nematodes can recognize indole, which controls some of their behavior. This review presents current knowledge regarding indole and its derivatives, their biotechnological applications and their role in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)707-718
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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