Monday, March 14, 2005

Talking Bacteria, and How to Shut Them Up

From Livescience:

Bacteria are more gregarious than previously thought. Not only do they routinely engage in small talk among themselves, but research is showing that many are also multilingual and can communicate with members of other species.

Bacteria are able to communicate with one another through a process known as quorum sensing.

Here's how it works: Individual bacteria secrete signaling molecules called autoinducers into their environments, and as the number of bacteria in a colony increases, so does the concentration of the signaling molecule.
Once a critical mass, or quorum, of bacteria and auto inducers are reached, specific behaviors can be initiated.

Quorum sensing allows bacteria to coordinate their behaviors on a global scale and to act like enormous multicellular organisms.

Many scientists believe the discovery of AI-2 could lead to the development of a new class of antibiotics.

"If we could keep the bacteria from talking or listening, we might be able to develop new kinds of therapeutics," Bassler said.

Talking Bacteria, and How to Shut Them Up


Post a Comment

<< Home