Extracellular autoinducing compounds in the supernatants of microbial cultures were first recognized for their roles in the induction of genetic competence in gram-positive bacteria and in the regulation of light production in marine vibrios. In 1994, this form of population-level regulation in microbes was dubbed “quorum sensing” since it enabled bacterial cells to chemically measure the density of the surrounding population. Subsequently, many examples of cell density-dependent regulation by extracellular factors have been found in diverse microorganisms. The widespread incidence of diverse quorum-sensing systems strongly suggests that regulation in accordance with cell density is important for the success of microbes in many environments.
Hogan, Deborah A., "Talking to Themselves: Autoregulation and Quorum Sensing in Fungi" (2006). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 834.