Pyrones or pyranones are a class of cyclic chemical compounds. They contain an unsaturated six membered ring containing one oxygen atom and a ketone functional group. There are two isomers denoted as 2-pyrone and 4-pyrone. The 2-pyrone (or α-pyrone) structure is found in nature as part of the coumarin ring system. 4-Pyrone (or γ-pyrone) is found in some natural chemical compounds such as chromone, maltol and kojic acid.
In July 2013 α-pyrones were identified as a new class of signalling molecule in bacterial communication, similar to quorum sensing. Cells with LuxR-type receptors, but lacking its homolog LuxI (and thus unable to produce N-acylhomoserine lactone QS signaling molecules) are known as LuxR "solos", to which pyrones bind as ligands facilitating cell-cell communication.
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